Luzhniki Stadium in Moscow
Luzhniki Stadium (Russian: Стадион «Лужники»; IPA: [stədʲɪˈon lʊʐnʲɪˈkʲi]), is a sports stadium in Moscow, Russia. Its total seating capacity is 81,000 seats, all covered (upgraded). The stadium is a part of the Luzhniki Olympic Complex, and is located in Khamovniki District of the Central Administrative Okrug of Moscow city. The name Luzhniki derives from the flood meadows in the bend of Moskva River where the stadium was built, translating roughly as "The Meadows". Its the biggest stadium in eastern Europe.
In the past its field has been used as the home ground (at various times) for football games played by PFC CSKA Moscow, Torpedo Moscow and Spartak Moscow, however, there are currently no clubs based at the stadium. Today it is mainly used as one of the home grounds of the Russian national football team. It is one of the few major European stadia to use an artificial pitch, having installed a FIFA-approved FieldTurf pitch in 2002. The pitch is necessary because regular grass pitches cannot withstand the harsh Russian winters and must be replaced at high cost. However, a temporary natural grass pitch was installed for the 2008 UEFA Champions League Final. The stadium is also used from time to time for various other sporting events and for concerts.
The stadium is located in Khamovniki District of the Central Administrative Okrug of Moscow city, south-west of the city center. The name Luzhniki derives from the flood meadows in the bend of Moskva River where the stadium was built, translating roughly as "The Meadows". It was necessary to find a very large plot of land, preferably in a green area close to the city center that could fit into the transport map of the capital without too much difficulty. According to one of the architects: "On a sunny spring day of 1954, we, a group of architects and engineers who were tasked with designing the Central stadium, climbed onto a large paved area on the Lenin Hills... the proximity of the river, green mass of clean, fresh air - this circumstance alone mattered to select the area of the future city of sports... In addition, Luzhniki is located relatively close to the city center and convenient access to major transport systems with all parts of the capital".
Background and early years
On 23 December 1954, the Government of the USSR adopted a resolution on the construction of a stadium in the Luzhniki area in Moscow.
The decision of the Soviet Government was a response to a specific current international situation: By the early 1950s, Soviet athletes took to the world stage for the first time after the Great Patriotic War, participating in the Olympic Games. The 1952 Summer Olympics in Helsinki brought the Soviet team 71 medals (of which 22 gold) and second place in the unofficial team standings. It was a major success, but increased athletic development of the Soviet Union, which was a matter of state policy, required the construction of a new sports complex. The proposed complex was to meet all modern international standards and at the same time serve as a training base for the Olympic team and arena for large domestic and international competitions.
The stadium was built in 1955–56 as the Grand Arena of the Central Lenin Stadium. Building materials came from Leningrad and Armenia, electrical and oak beams for the spectator benches from Ukraine, furnitures from Riga and Kaunas, glass was brought from Minsk, electrical equipment from Podolsk in Moscow Oblast, and larch lumber from Irkutsk in Siberia. It was necessary to demolish a whole area of dilapidated buildings (including the Trinity Church, which is supposed to be restored). Because the soil was heavily waterlogged, almost the entire area of the future of the complex had to be raised half a meter. 10,000 piles were hammered into the ground and dredgers reclaimed about 3 million cubic meters of soil.
The stadium was officially opened on 31 July 1956, having been built in just 450 days. It was the national stadium of the Soviet Union, and is now the national stadium of Russia.
The stadium was the chief venue for the 1980 Summer Olympics, the spectator capacity being 103,000 at that time. The events hosted in this stadium were the Opening and Closing Ceremonies, Athletics, Football finals, and the Individual Jumping Grand Prix.
1982 Luzhniki disaster
On 20 October 1982, disaster struck during a UEFA Cup match between FC Spartak Moscow and HFC Haarlem. 66 people died in the stampede, which made it Russia's worst sporting disaster at the time.
1990s and 2000s
In 1992, the stadium was renamed Luzhniki Stadium. An extensive renovation in 1996 saw the construction of a roof over the stands, and the refurbishment of the seating areas, resulting in a decrease in capacity.
The stadium hosted the 1999 UEFA Cup Final in which Parma defeated Marseille in the second UEFA Cup Final to be played as a single fixture.
The Luzhniki Stadium was chosen by UEFA to host the 2008 UEFA Champions League Final won by Manchester United who beat Chelsea in the first all-English Champions League Final on 21 May. Prior to the match some skeptics questioned the state of the pitch and also the ability of Russian authorities to keep order amongst the traveling British fans; however, the match passed incident-free and a spokesman for the British Embassy in Moscow said, "The security and logistical arrangements put in place by the Russian authorities have been first-rate, as has been their cooperation with their visiting counterparts from the UK."
In August 2013 the stadium hosted the World Athletics Championships.
The original stadium was demolished in 2013 to give a way for the construction of a new stadium. The self-supported cover was retained. The facade wall was retained as well, due to its architectural value and later was reconnected to a new building. Construction of the new stadium is expected to be complete by 2017.
The 2018 FIFA World Cup has been awarded to Russia and the Luzhniki Stadium has been selected by the Russia 2018 FIFA World Cup bid as the venue for the final, which will be held on 15 July 2018. The stadium will then join Rome's Stadio Olimpico, Berlin's Olympiastadion, Munich's Olympiastadion and London's Wembley Stadium as the only stadiums to have hosted the finals of the FIFA World Cup, UEFA's European Cup/Champions League and featured as a main stadium of the Summer Olympic Games.
The Luzhniki Stadium hosted the final game of the 1957 Ice Hockey World Championship between Sweden and the Soviet Union, attended by a crowd of 55,000 and setting a new world record at the time. Other events staged include the 1973 Summer Universiade, the 1989 Moscow Music Peace Festival and the inaugural World Youth Games in 1998. The 2013 Rugby World Cup Sevens was held at the ground. It also hosts European games for other football clubs, such as Rubin Kazan, owing to the home stadiums of the respective clubs not meeting UEFA standards.
Artists such as Michael Jackson (1993 Dangerous Tour), The Rolling Stones, Madonna (2006 Confessions Tour), Metallica (Sick of the Studio '07 tour), Kino, U2 (2010 U2 360° Tour) have all performed concerts in the stadium. Luzhniki Stadium also makes an appearance in the Russian film Night Watch (Russian: Ночной дозор, Nochnoy Dozor), during the power shut-down scene when the power station goes into overload. The stadium is seen with a match taking place, and then the lights go out. New Japan Pro Wrestling, the Japanese professional wrestling promotion, ran a show in 1989 as well. Most recently, Red Hot Chili Peppers played at the stadium on 22 July 2012. The Alisa album Shabash is taken from two concerts performed here over two nights in late October 1990.