The Russian city of St. Petersburg has canceled a contract for the construction of a stadium that is scheduled to host matches during the 2018 World Cup soccer championships.
The city made the announcement on July 15, saying that some $39 million allocated for the stadium was unaccounted for. City authorities have asked prosecutors to investigate the Inzhtransstroi-SPB construction firm that has been overseeing the project.
The stadium, given the provisional name Zenit arena after the city's main soccer team, has been nearly a decade in the making and currently has a total estimated cost of $620 million. Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev recently called the project "disgraceful."
In a statement on July 14, Inzhtransstroi-SPB said it wants to complete the 68,000-seat stadium by the end of the year, "but the city administration is doing everything to derail the completion of the project on time."
Vadim Tyulpanov, chairman of the parliamentary commission overseeing preparations for the 2018 World Cup, said the city's decision could mean that St. Petersburg will not be able to host the 2017 Federations Cup as planned.
"If the stadium is not commissioned in December, we won’t be able to host the tournament in June," he said.
He added that the project is currently 85 percent complete.