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St. Petersburg Stadium Dispute Disrupts Preparations For 2018 World Cup

A Russian official in charge of overseeing the 2018 World Cup said he is "concerned" about a dispute at a stadium in St. Petersburg which threatens to disrupt preparations.

The St. Petersburg city government is trying to replace the main contractor for its already-delayed 68,000-seat arena, prompting speculation in Russian media that the resulting disruption could force organizers to move next year's Confederations Cup from the city.

Organizing committee CEO Alexei Sorokin told The Associated Press that there are no current plans to move the Confederations Cup.

"We are concerned but it's not to the point where we are ready to panic or to discuss Plan B," he said in a telephone interview. "We do not underestimate the situation. It is serious, but the situation is still workable, operational. It's not something that throws us off balance."

The St. Petersburg stadium started construction in 2007 and has been dogged by cost rises and delays, as well as other problems including the deaths of workers in accidents and fraud investigations.

Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev once called the project "disgraceful."

Based on reporting by AP