Tuesday, 15 July 2014

Indoor stadium for the 2018 World Cup?

I've covered Russia's World Cup 2018 preparations extensively here and here, but I keep stumbling across little interesting details like this one: Sochi could have an indoor World Cup stadium.

Indoor stadiums don't have a great record in the World Cup. The first time games were played under a roof, at the Pontiac Silverdome for U.S. '94, it was a hot, humid disaster.

Still, those pushing for an indoor stadium in Sochi think they have solved those problems with a new-generation design - the indoor rugby ground in Dunedin, New Zealand is their model.

Sources involved in planning for the 2018 World Cup tell me organisers could keep the temporary roof that was put on the Fisht Olympic Stadium for the opening and closing ceremonies of February's Winter Olympics. All that's required, apparently, is a little extra reinforcement to comply with government regulations on permanent structures. At the moment, a debate is under way behind the scenes between those World Cup planners in favour of keeping the roof, and those who want a more conventional outdoor arena.

Keeping the roof would make the 45,000-capacity Fisht the first World Cup arena since 2002 to be fully indoor (some German venues in 2006 had retractable roofs). And, among some rather bland designs for the other 2018 arenas, it would be the most innovative, testing possible ideas for Qatar 2022, when air-conditioned indoor arenas are likely. It's also being promoted as having legacy benefits - under the roof, the stadium becomes a vast indoor theatre.

The downside, however, is that spectators are deprived of the stunning views the Fisht was designed to provide - one end open to the Black Sea, the other looking towards the Caucasus Mountains. No other 2018 venue can compare to that.

Indoor venues are catching on in Russia as a way to deal with the cold climate - CSKA Moscow are planning a transparent roof for their new stadium, while billionaire Mikhail Prokhorov, the owner of the Brooklyn Nets NBA team, wants to build a 15,000-capacity indoor arena for Torpedo Moscow. For the last few seasons, Russian Premier League side Ural Yekaterinburg have used an indoor hall as a way to dodge freezing winter temperatures at their first-choice stadium... but it's not exactly a looker.

1 comment:

Mike Hassy said...

JEllingworth will be a good selection for the world cup 2018 because the stadium is enough good. However, being an indoor stadium, Russia has to do lots of changes in this place.