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The Grand Sports Arena of the Luzhniki Olympic Complex ( ) in Moscowmarker, or briefly Luzhniki Stadium ( ), is the biggest sports stadium in Russiamarker. Its total seating capacity is 78,360 seats, all covered. The stadium is a part of the Luzhniki Olympic Complexmarker, previously called the Central Lenin Stadium ( ). The name Luzhniki derives from the swampy neighborhood where it was built, translating roughly as "puddles."

Stadium history

Inside view
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 [48362].

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 also hosted the final game of the 1957 Ice Hockey World Championship between Swedenmarker and the Soviet Unionmarker, attended by a crowd of 55,000 and setting a new world record at that time.
The stadium has been awarded a five-star rating by UEFA


On October 20, 1982, disaster struck during the UEFA Cup match between FC Spartak Moscow and HFC Haarlem. Scores of people were trampled. The official number of deaths is 66 but many people believe this number to be significantly higher. [48363]

In 1989, the Lenin Stadium was the location for the Moscow Peace Festival. The Moscow Music Peace Festival was an effort by the Make A Difference Foundation and rock producers and organizers in the US and USSR. It was held over two days, and was essentially the first festival of its kind, that is, that openly was presenting Western heavy metal acts with an emphasis on international cooperation on preventing drug abuse. The festival featured artists such as Bon Jovi, Scorpions, Ozzy Osbourne, Skid Row, Mötley Crüe, Cinderella and Gorky Park. Michael Jackson's first performance in Russia took place in Luzhniki Stadium as part of his 1993 Dangerous Tour. Madonna also performed here as part of her 2006 Confessions Tour.

In 1998 the stadium held the first World Youth Games.

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 stadium also makes an appearance in the Russian film Night Watch ( ), 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.

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, mayor of Moscow, and many see the awarding of the contract to have been a conflict of interest.

References

  1. Grand Sports Arena
  2. Russian Roulette: Western Companies Fight for Press Freedom in Moscow - International - SPIEGEL ONLINE - News


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