As the public-financed new 69,000-seater goes into 6th year of delays, news of Zenit planning a ‘plan B’ modular stadium was released in… Germany. Only after it leaked, the club decided to comment on the issue.
German website Stadionwelt.de was the first to inform about this unexpected turn in Saint Petersburg’s stadium soap opera. As the German website revealed, Zenit contacted the Swiss event-infrastructure specialists Nüssli already in August of 2013.
The club ordered a feasibility study into establishing a new modular stadium within the Saint Petersburg municipality. There were two options considered: 25,000 and 35,000 capacity, both with extensive infrastructure for hospitality and meeting UEFA regulations (renderings left).
As the Swiss company emphasizes, the contact didn’t end with a complete design for the potential stadium. However, Nüssli claims building such a structure is possible within one year, possibly even in 8-10 months. Location preferred by Zenit is reportedly the one in Kupchino, in southern outskirts of Saint Petersburg.
Only after the news was released in Germany and than by Russian media outlets, Zenit commented on the issue. According to Interfax press agency, the club are unsure of their future at the 69,000-capacity giant in central Krestovskiy Island. At the same time the current Petrovsky Stadion is below Zenit’s expectations and, for many games, ticket demand.
The new arena built by the municipality was first expected to be ready in 2008, which means that now the stadium is over 5 years behind schedule. Not only that, insufficient information from the municipality makes Zenit question the current delivery time of late 2015 / early 2016. There’s also no guarantee for the club that, once finally delivered, the stadium would actually meet all demand without huge investment and further works.