Football: FIFA backs St. Petersburg pitch
12:00 AM, February 28, 2017 / LAST MODIFIED: 03:11 PM, February 28, 2017

FIFA backs St. Petersburg pitch

FIFA on Monday said it was confident problems plaguing the pitch at the new Saint Petersburg stadium will be fixed in time for the Confederations Cup in June.

Last year inspectors said the retractable pitch at the 68,000-seater Saint Petersburg Arena -- which is set to hold the opening and final games of the Confederations Cup -- was unstable and not fit for matches.

"There's a clear plan, engineering plan of the works to be put in and that should be completed within the next two weeks," Colin Smith, the head of FIFA's operational commission, said following a visit to the stadium.

"We're confident that the measures that have been planned should resolve the situation."

The pitch issue is the latest headache to hit the venue in Russia's second city -- which is also meant to host games during the 2018 World Cup in Russia.

The construction of the arena, which serves as a home ground for Zenit St Petersburg, began in 2007 but was only finished in December after spiralling bills and missed deadlines.

"There's still a lot of work to be done and completed but we all feel that we're on the right track," Smith said. 

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