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It also struggles with the retained fragment of an older building incorporated into the new. The effect is weird but endearing. Almost always, after last-minute panics, the venues for these sporting extravaganzas are just about finished on time. Almost always they are both over budget and flawed in their legacy. Sometimes they throw up an architectural marvel to treasure in times to come. With the possible exceptio n of Samara the billions of the 2018 World Cup are not going to buy russias cities such gems. Rowan moore Architecture critic, the Observer.

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Rather we are offered weary lash-ups in which well-known themes are mixed with a further, oddly widespread, approach to stadium design the cladding car crash, in which for no apparent reason disparate bits of surface, shape and truss are hurled together. Sochi is one of several venues with this collisional aesthetic. If you truly think it looks like a fabergé egg then you have failed to notice something fundamental exquisite craftsmanship, perhaps about the original. The stadiums are mostly lumpy, their soaring ambitions grounded, some bearing too obviously the scars of budget cuts, the fabulous expenditure of the 2018 World Cup having gone to some other place than good architecture. The mottled surfaces of the Spartak and Mordovia grounds are more psoriatic than anything else. Nizhny novgorod has a classic simplicity that puts it a cut above some others, but spoils it with a sort of giant whirlpool-patterned blue-and-white shower curtain behind its outer colonnade. This for is closely inspired, it is alleged, by elements from the volga countryside. Samara, by the german practice gmp architeken, is in its appearance the pick of the bunch. It is one of the most troubled in terms of delivery, but it has a mad kitschy oomph, which will inspire affection over time. The ekaterinburg general Arena provokes mixed feelings. Its plain bowl shape is handsome enough, but it deals extraordinarily clumsily (as did the Aquatic Centre at London 2012) with two temporary banks of seating, to be removed after the world Cup is over.

The Spartak stadium in Moscow, completed in 2014, and the barely finished Mordovia arena in Saransk are homages to the Allianz Arena, big cushions with variegated colours. The fisht Stadium in Sochi, built for the 2014 Winter Olympics and repurposed for football, goes for the portable-object conceit: its architects Populous, the multi-national sports specialists who resume also designed the stadiums in kazan, rostov and Saransk, said it was inspired by a fabergé egg. Volgograd, overlooked by the 85-metre high statue that commemorates the battle of Stalingrad, has a woven basket-like look with hints of the birds Nest. Russia has its own contribution to the styling of stadiums, in the soviet tradition of building tributes to the space age, flightless saucers at once cosmonautic and massive. The cosmos Arena for the pleasant southern city of Samara bets heavily on this look appropriately, arguably, as the city was once a centre of the soviet space programme. At the same time, mixed metaphors being permissible in the world of iconic architecture, it is said to look like a flower. It is beyond the scope of this article to tour all 12 venues for the 2018 World Cup, so i may be missing something, but from a distance it doesnt look like being a classic, architecturally speaking. There are no gamechangers, designs that future stadium builders can plunder for inspiration, such as the two munich venues or Renzo pianos splendid Bari stadium for Italia 90 (which, it has to be said, never attained a capacity crowd until 2014).

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But, given the money, energy, materials and labour that have gone into them, the fact that they will be landmarks in their cities for decades and that billions will see them on tv, it is summary not insignificant. There is a limited range of known ways of designing stadiums, as their basic shapes tend to be pushed towards uniformity by consistent and demanding parameters. There is the swooping roof, often hung on wires and masts, as in Frei ottos tent-like stadium for the 1972 Munich Olympics. There is the backlit cushion of the Allianz Arena, also in the bavarian capital, home of bayern Munich and tsv 1860 Munich and a venue for the 2006 World Cup. There is the of which beijings 2008 Birds Nest is the best known. Russia 2018 is trying most of these approaches. The St Petersburg stadium, designed by the late japanese architect Kisho kurokawa some time before russia won its World Cup bid but which only opened last year after epic delays and cost overruns, goes for the mast-hung roof look. So in somewhat shrivelled form do the stadiums in Kaliningrad and Rostov. Kazans roof swoops but without wires.

Stadiums The fabulous expense of this event has gone to some place other than good architecture we should be used to the revolving biennial spectacle of the stadium-building binges that accompany global sporting events Olympics, world Cup, Olympics, world Cup, with the winter Olympics thrown. With them come recurring stories: geometrically increasing budgets, the suspenseful fear that they wont be finished on time, picturesque malfunctions, the endless promise of legacy. This time, we are promised, the event wont bequeath rattling, crowd-starved behemoths. Almost always, it does. Russia, where several of the grounds will go on to serve lower-league clubs in small-ish cities, doesnt seem likely to buck the trend. There tends in these sporting extravaganzas to be a scent of corruption ranging from the faint whiff of distant flatulence to the rank, ripe stench of sharing a dutch oven with a bean-eating petomane. Russia, to no ones surprise, is at the latter end of the scale: according to Transparency International the cost overruns of this years World Cup twice the cost per spectator of Brazil in 2014 are at a scale that can only be explained by corruption. To which sorry tales can be added the dark stories that Russia 2018 and Qatar 2022 have brought to prominence, of the use of near-slaves ( from North Korea in Russias case ) to build the stadiums. All of which might make the mere look of these structures seem secondary.

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Andrey bocharov, the regions governor, said that all measures necessary are being taken to protect fans, including banning fans known for violent or racist behaviour from the stadiums. Most attention appears focused on preventing fan violence or a terrorist attack: during the match, streets and public transport were blocked off for kilometres around Volgograds stadium. Hanging out at the game were players from Germanys under-18 squad. Theyve all wanted to take pictures with us, german defender Yann-Aurel Bisseck, who is black, said, adding that many russians around town even recognised him. That had followed an emotional game against the russian under-18 squad held around the anniversary of the nazi surrender in 1945. Our coaching staff told us youre not only here for football.

We were very happy to represent Germany. Meanwhile, fans of the clubs avangard and Tosno streamed into the stadium. A tosno fan named Andrey rylkov told the. Observer that concerns over monkey chants were overblown: Its homework just some of the guys having a bit of fun, he said. I know people where you are from tend to take everything seriously, its a different culture but we dont believe in political correctness like that here. Andrew Roth, andrew Roth is the guardian/Observer Russia correspondent.

Much work has been done to stop it, but you couldnt eliminate it all. First, it takes time. Second, football just reflects what happens in society in general. In a report in 2015, fare and the anti-extremist. Sova centre in Moscow documented 99 racist and far-right displays and 21 racially motivated attacks by fans during the seasons.

In a report to be released this week, klymenko said Fare will announce a reduced incidence of racist symbols at matches, continuing a trend over the past several years. He said incidents of recorded racist slogans, such as monkey chants, have risen, but that is likely due to the increased monitoring at matches. But incidents have still come at critical moments. In March, Frances Ousmane dembélé, ngolo kanté and paul Pogba were targeted with monkey chants during a friendly in St Petersburg. Fifa this month fined the russian football Union more than 22,000 for the incident. Klymenko said the audience for that match would likely reflect that for the world Cup. The problem is that young people come and see the dominance of the far-right chants, and anyone who tries to challenge has a significant threat of violence, he said. Theyre soaking in the culture around them. At the russian Cup final in Volgograd this month, officials said violent fan behaviour would not be tolerated.

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Many other volunteers choose to remain anonymous. Somebody has to stand up and raise his voice against this, he rainbow said. Russian football has taken some important steps to combat racism, Klymenko said, including the appointment of the retired Chelsea and Fulham midfielder Alexei smertin as a dedicated envoy against discrimination in Russian football, and improved monitoring at matches. In contrast, the government in 2013 passed new legislation outlawing gay propaganda, including gay pride parades or support groups for young people, which led to an upsurge in homophobic attacks. The new laws were a source of controversy before the 2014 Sochi Olympics and Klymenko said that homophobic language has been used at Russian football stadiums this season but little has been done to combat. Homosexuality is such a taboo in Russian society that nobody really dares to address it, he said. Of criticism over race incidents, Igor Rabiner, one of the countrys best-known football writers said, sometimes its fair, sometimes its much exaggerated.

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Several black players, including Emmanuel Frimpong and. Christopher Samba, were punished by the russian football Union after reacting to racist slurs hurled by fans. Ultras in St Petersburg in 2012 released a manifesto demanding their team refuse to sign non-white and gay players. And cska moscow were forced to play two games in an empty room stadium after hooligans set off flares and unfurled racist banners during a champions league fixture against Roma in 2014. The ban was the point of no return for Robert Ustian, a 34-year-old political analyst and cska fan, who founded a group called cska fans Against Racism. The volunteer organisation seeks to change the clubs fan culture through better education and self-policing, and Ustian believes it has helped reduce racist behaviour at matches. He helps to organise monitoring of extremist slogans and banners, including swastikas, at matches. He has received threats, he said.

at sviridovs grave later that month in what was interpreted as a sign of deference to nationalists. It was one of the showcase events where everyone saw the numbers, the power the fans have, and the prevalence of the far-right ideology among the fans, said pavel Klymenko, who helps monitor instances of fan discrimination for the. Football Against Racism in Europe (Fare) network. There was a political importance too. Putin did not condemn them. He gave in to some of the xenophobic demands of the fans. His concern was for the fans not to turn against him. The following years saw a number of ugly incidents.

Russias aspirations have changed since it was awarded the world Cup back in 2010. Then, it still appeared set on wooing the international community by essays holding prestige tournaments. Dmitry medvedev was president and the reset in relations initiated by President Obama was still on track, with the goal of repairing relations after the war in georgia. But even then, long before salisbury, the war in Ukraine, laws against gay propaganda and hooligan violence in Marseilles, racist incidents in Russian football were a clear concern. Russian officials, as well as some players and journalists, insist that while the country has a problem with rightwing fans, the situation has been blown out of proportion by the press and is no worse than elsewhere in eastern Europe. The government says it has made advances in anti-racism monitoring at matches; data from independent organisations appears to support that t with monkey chants heard at three matches since march, the spotlight will remain on the hooligan culture, largely modelled on English fans, that has. A critical moment in that history came just four days after Russia was awarded the world Cup in 2010, when a spartak moscow fan named Egor sviridov was killed by a rubber bullet during a brawl that pitted young, ethnically russian football fans against youths.

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Racism, young fans see the dominance of far-right chants. Anyone who challenges it faces a threat of violence. It is the most politically charged World Cup in recent memory: Russia, resurgent under Vladimir Putin, is set to host the 32-team tournament next month amid scandals ranging from sports doping to spy poisonings. Relations between Moscow and London are at their coolest since the cold war and the recent events in Salisbury even led to brief speculation (aided by boris Johnson) that England could skip the tournament, recalling the Olympics boycotts of the 1980s. While individual matches such resume as the United States and Irans face-off in 1998 were political lightning rods in their time, the host country has not faced such heated criticism perhaps since the 1978. World Cup in Argentina, held just two years after a right-wing military coup backed by the United States. Last week human Rights Watch released a 44-page guide detailing repression and discrimination in Russia, targeted at the thousands of journalists expected to arrive in the country for the tournament. Fifa still has time to show that it is ready to use its leverage with the russian government to fulfil its own human rights policies, hugh Williamson of Human Rights Watch, said in a statement.

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