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Russia okays US$150m to subsidise World Cup venues

The Russian government approved Friday (Aug 8) rules on subsidising construction of infrastructure for the 2018 football World Cup for a total of over 5.5 billion rubles (US$151 million, 113 million euros, S$188 million).

MOSCOW: The Russian government approved Friday (Aug 8) rules on subsidising construction of infrastructure for the 2018 football World Cup for a total of over 5.5 billion rubles (US$151 million, 113 million euros, S$188 million). Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev signed a decree setting out how regions hosting the matches can tap the funds under the government's programme to support the World Cup.

While Russia successfully transformed the Black Sea resort of Sochi into a glittering sports venue to host February's Winter Olympics, at a cost of over US$50 billion, the World Cup presents an even bigger challenge as a radical overhaul is needed of sports, tourist and transport infrastructure in a string of under-developed regions across the vast country. Some of the venues are already complete or well on schedule -- but elsewhere work will be starting from scratch.

The programme has identified 28 projects including modernising the water and heating systems in cities hosting matches. Officials have previously estimated that US$20 billion will be needed to prepare for the World Cup, with about half coming from private investors and the other from regional government budgets.