The Russian World Cup has just taken another weird and scandalous turn

After years of scandal, setbacks and financial issues the Russian World Cup organizers are turning to one final source – God. 

On a whole the Russian World Cup has been battling problems since the winning bid announcement. Concerns over lack of freedom for visitors to corporation to worker’s right have all plagued their World Cup hosting plans.

One stadium in particular has faced the brunt of these setbacks – St. Petersburg. Given the city, it is fitting where this story will end. Here is a walk through of some of the issues that group has faced:

  1. Vibrating Pitch? Over a year ago a FIFA inspector visiting the stadium determined that the pitch bounced too much to allow safe play. How in the world did they install and improper, vibrating field?
  2. Leaky Roof. This place cost over $500 million, it brand new, and already has a leaking roof? Fans can likely look past this one since many are use to watching matches in the elements.
  3. Toxic Air. Last month it was reported that “the city had levels of formaldehyde and ammonia in the air above permissible standards”. Forget the fans, how are players expected to run for 90 minutes in bad air?
  4. And the list goes on. Work safety issues. Charges of corruption and arrests over subcontract deals.

It should be a safe bet at this point that the on-field action will look something like this.

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St. Petersberg has turned into a tutorial on how not to build a successful stadium. To make matters even worse Russia doesn’t have another year and a half to correct these issues. The stadium was suppose to be the new home of Zenit St. Petersberg, with league play starting in April.

To make matters worse next summer (six months away) the stadium is a part of the FIFA Confederations Cup. A Christmas day deadline was recently set to complete all major construction.

So how do they expect to over these issues and complete the monstrous task?

The Financial Times reported that “St. Petersburg held a pitchside vigil with 20 priests a few months ago, hoping for some kind of spark.” When speaking to one of the officials at the site they stated that “Russians always turn to God in times of trouble.”

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And so it has come down to prayer to see Russia finish on time. Good luck. Unless one of those priests is an excellent project manager this stadium is going to coast to the finish line. Once the FIFA matches get here, it will almost surely look finished to the television audience. They will complete the required pieces to make it appear as though it is perfect. Meanwhile behind the scenes, corners will have been cut and the players and fans will be left to work with their jumbled mess.

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