Though official bid to FIFA said the national stadium will only be refurbished, it seems Moscow's Luzhniki will go down completely and get modern replacement. No final decision is in place yet, but sports minister confirms this is to be accepted.
Russia's Sports Minister Valeriy Mutko compared the situation in Moscow to that of two other metropolises – Rio de Janeiro and London. Each of those cities took a different path with Rio doing a reconstruction inside the bowl of old Maracana and London having its largest venue demolished and replaced. Both ideas got huge criticism, but this was never going to be easy...
“We’d like to do it how the British did it with Wembley – that the new stadium would also become a concert area, business center and a place for entertainment. But the final decision is to be made by the government and the mayor of the capital city of Moscow," says Valeriy Mutko.
Though he stresses that decision has not been reached just yet, he also explains why major reconstruction isn't viable. “This is expensive and not perfect because we’d have to go underground, but, actually, there’s nowhere to go there”.
The reason why this decision is surprising is that the option to build new stands inside the historical facades was both the one in Russia's 2018 World Cup bid and the option prevalent in recent months. It wasn't until November that we heard demolition is also taken into account.
Now it seems most probable that demolition works will start in mid-2013, after the venue hosts World Athletic Championships.