Russia: Scandal in Samara, dome bursting

source: [MK]; author: michał

Russia: Scandal in Samara, dome bursting The noise was reportedly so loud that employees feared the roof was falling onto them. Stadium operator is trying to downplay the problem but it might end up being catastrophic.


For a week now Russian media are reporting major issues regarding Samara Arena. It began on February 17, when the stadium was evacuated immediately for unknown reasons. Unofficial information suggested a major structural issue. The case was most thoroughly described by, based on numerous sources.

Asked about the incident, representatives of Samara Arena GAU (operating company) have initially claimed that two cases of COVID-19 were confirmed and contained. So, basically, “nothing to see here, move along”. Asked whether the roof had cracked, a representative reportedly burst with laughter, denying the claim.

But then obtained photos of a detached horizontal beam, torn from the mounts. It then became clear that the company had been lying in an attempt to downplay the situation. On the rendering below we’re showing which element was show to have cracked. Keep in mind, this is only a visual aid. Even decided not to indicate in which section of the stadium this had happened, fearing this could reveal the identity of the informant.

Samarra Arena

As has been confirmed since, there were two horizontal beams that gave way at the same time, both visible from outside the stadium, at the basis of the stadium’s dome. According to testimonies from people on site at the time, the noise was so loud that they feared a portion of the stadium could be falling.

Finally, Samara Arena GAU director Vitaliy Ivanov released a statement, confirming that a ‘defect’ of the roof was spotted. Below is the content of that message:

“At Samara Arena stadium, a complex of works is carried out daily to prepare the facility for the resumption of the football season in March. Among other things, specialists check and launch various systems, inspect premises, various structures, and elements of the stadium. During a following inspection, defects of horizontal metal structures were revealed. The revealed defects will be analysed by experts who will give a professional assessment and conclusion.”

Samarra Arena© Александр Карягин

What’s next for Samara Arena?

The operator showed no hesitation and put the blame on Samara Arena’s general contractor, PSO Kazan. No wonder, conflicts between the investor and contractor began early into the construction phase, when drastic increases in cost resulted in numerous cost-cutting measures.

As it happens, on March 1 Russia’s Arbitration Tribunal will hear the case of this project. PSO Kazan is the defendant, blamed by Samara Arena GAU for some 370 defects or shortcomings. The operator demands all of the work to be carried out as part of PSO Kazan’s warrantee.

It remains unclear what exactly caused the cracks or how they will impact the roof’s stability. A variety of factors may have been in play, from faulty calculations, through the dome’s non-compliance with the design or poor quality of steel, to even sudden changes in temperature, which change the properties of steel.

Experts asked by suggest the issue is very serious and requires caution. Conclusions won’t come soon enough, though. On March 6 Krylya Sovetov will take on Moscow’s Chernatovo in their second league game. Up to 5,000 free tickets are to be distributed for the event. As of writing this, the hosts showed no indication of relocation of the game. Should that happen, Krylya Sovetov have Metallurg Stadion at their disposal. Claims of the match being switched to Mordovia Arena have also surfaced.

Samarra Arena©  ПСО Казань