Russia is trying to stop the retractable field at a World Cup stadium from shaking, Deputy Prime Minister Vitaly Mutko said Thursday.
Mutko said the field at the 68,000-seat stadium in St. Petersburg has been experiencing problems with the mechanism that allows it to be stored outside and wheeled in for games.
He denied it will cause further delays for the arena, which is due to host Confederations Cup games next summer and one of the World Cup semifinals in 2018.
“The issue is that the field rolls into the stadium on an unstable base and needs to be strengthened,” Mutko said while visiting the stadium in comments reported by local media, adding that the problem was “nothing unusual” and the stadium would still meet its completion date next month.
Earlier, the deputy governor of St. Petersburg said FIFA inspectors had noted “concerns regarding the retractable field, access control and training fields” during an inspection on Monday, in comments to state news agency R-Sport.
The venue, which has been hit by repeated construction delays, allows the field to be stored outside and retracted for games, allowing the grass to grow better and avoid damage when non-sports events are held in the stadium.
Construction on the stadium, located on an island in the River Neva estuary, began a decade ago and has seen repeated delays and dramatic cost increases to around 43.8 billion rubles ($690 million). The company building the stadium was replaced earlier this year following a dispute with the city government.
As well as the shaking field, other problems related to the construction of the stadium have included embezzlement inquiries and the deaths of at least eight workers.
FIFA has yet to comment on the state of the field.