Luzhniki Stadium

The Grand Sports Arena of the Luzhniki Olympic Complex (Russian: Большая спортивная арена Олимпийского комплекса Лужники) in Moscow, or briefly Luzhniki Stadium (Russian: Стадион "Лужники"), is the biggest sports stadium in Russia. Its total seating capacity is 78,360 seats, all covered. The stadium is a part of the Luzhniki Olympic Complex, previously called the Central Lenin Stadium (Russian: Центральный стадион имени В. И. Ленина). The name Luzhniki derives from the flood meadows in the bend of Moskva River where the stadium was built, translating roughly as "The Meadows". The stadium is located in Khamovniki District of the Central Administrative Okrug of Moscow-city. As part of the Olympic complex Luzhniki also have the Palace of Sport at Luzhniki.


Stadium history

Its field is used mainly for football games by Torpedo Moscow club, who also own the sports complex, and Spartak Moscow. It is also one of the few major European stadia to use an artificial pitch, as it installed a FIFA-approved FieldTurf pitch in 2002. The pitch is necessary for the cold Russian climate, as regular grass pitches are often destroyed during a typical winter and must be replaced at high cost. However, a temporary natural grass pitch was installed for the 2008 Champions League Final .


The Grand Arena of the Central Lenin 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.


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 May 21. 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 British Embassy in Moscow spokesman 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."


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 July 8, 2018. The stadium will then join Rome's Stadio Olimpico, Munich's Olympic Stadium and London's Wembley Stadium as the only stadia 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.


Other events

The Luzhniki Stadium also 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 that time. Other events staged include the 1973 Summer Universiade, the 1985 Moscow Music Peace Festival and the inaugural World Youth Games in 1998. Artists suchs as Michael Jackson (1993 Dangerous Tour), The Rolling Stones, Madonna, Metallica (Sick Of The Studio '07 tour), Kino, U2 (their 2010 U2 360° Tour) have all performed concerts in the stadium. It 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.


1982 Luzhniki Disaster

On October 20, 1982, disaster struck during the UEFA Cup match between FC Spartak Moscow and HFC Haarlem. Scores of people were trampled, with the official number of deaths being 66.


Corruption allegations

The seats for the stadium were provided in 1999 by Inteco, a company run by Yelena Baturina, now Russia's richest woman. Her husband is Yuriy Luzhkov, the former mayor of Moscow, and many see the awarding of the contract to have been a conflict of interest.

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