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Most expensive ever: Putin to spend $20 billion on 2018 World Cup in Russia

Jul 13, 2014, 1:20 PM EDT

Vladimir Putin AP

One of the VIP guests invited to the 2014 World Cup final in Rio de Janeiro on Sunday is already planning for the next tournament in Russia four years from now.

Big time.

Russian President Vladimir Putin, who will attend the final by invitation along with many other leading politicians, is ready to splash some serious cash when it comes to hosting the World Cup for the first-time in his nations history. Putin and members of the Kremlin are planning to spend over $20 BILLION on hosting the showpiece event, as costs for new stadiums, infrastructure and transport links will be hefty. Putin will be up for reelection in 2018 and could see hosting the World Cup as a great tool to rally public support behind him.

The latest report comes from, as Putin aims to make the 2018 tournament the most-expensive and extravagant World Cup in history.

“Russian President Vladimir Putin reportedly plans to spend $20 billion on Russia’s hosting of the 2018 competition. His ambitious plan will see stadiums and infrastructure built over an area stretching 1,500 miles from the Baltic Sea in the west to the Ural Mountains that form the gateway to Asia. The event is expected to follow the economic blueprint of this year’s Sochi Winter Games – the most expensive Olympics in history with estimated overall price tag of $51 billion.”

Putting the reported budget for the 2018 tournament into context, the 2014 World Cup in Brazil reportedly cost over $14 billion, while South Africa 2010 came in at $3.9 billion. That means the money Russia will spending on the 2018 World Cup is five-times the amount that was spent in South Africa. Wowza.

The 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi were deemed a success in Russia, as Putin spent an incredible $51 billion on the event to make it the most expensive Olympics in history. The event was safe, delivered what was expected but now Sochi has no need for the stadiums, hotels and other infrastructure built for the games. In the bigger cities like Moscow and St. Petersburg, improving soccer stadiums and transport will prove beneficial, but in some of the more remote World Cup cities in Russia spending is badly needed on other things. Will “White Elephants” be left behind all over Russia when the tournament has finished? Or will the Russian people benefit from this monumental expenditure on World Cup stadiums and facilities?

That remains to be seen. Putin’s plans may be grand, but they should improve the country for the long-term, not just dazzle during a World Cup, then dissolve into dereliction.

  1. mazblast - Jul 13, 2014 at 1:47 PM

    Putin will not spend $20 billion on this. Putin will spend $20 billion of his people’s money on this.

    • jimeejohnson - Jul 13, 2014 at 9:26 PM

      Thumbs down via useful idiot Russians.

  2. coachbeck - Jul 13, 2014 at 1:58 PM

    Athletics are a national pride. The people will not be upset

    • jimeejohnson - Jul 13, 2014 at 9:26 PM

      They certainly weren’t in Brazil. Yeah, right.

  3. creek0512 - Jul 13, 2014 at 2:27 PM

    It’s not as if they have any independent journalist to complain about it.

  4. rmccleary97 - Jul 13, 2014 at 2:46 PM

    Cost of South Africa to be able to host a World Cup: $3.9 billion
    Cost of Brazil to be able to host a World Cup: $14 billion (and arguably counting)
    Cost of Russia to hold a 1st-class World Cup: at least $20 billion
    Cost of the U.S. to hold a World Cup that tops all of them: $0

  5. ranoversquarells - Jul 13, 2014 at 6:18 PM

    In Russia, the ball kicks youuuuuu …

    • jimeejohnson - Jul 13, 2014 at 9:27 PM


  6. patriotsdefense - Jul 13, 2014 at 8:18 PM

    Will all the water faucets and sinks still pee brown water?

  7. yaysocials111 - Jul 13, 2014 at 9:15 PM

    What a surprise, the pathologically Russophobic western media is spouting more lies about Russia in a desperate attempt to smear its image and that of its democratically-chosen leader.

  8. yaysocials111 - Jul 13, 2014 at 9:16 PM

    The 2018 World Cup will cost $18 billion, which is not much more than the cost of the Cup in Brazil. The majority of this sum will go towards improving infrastructure in the host cities, and half of it consists of private investments – so no, it is not “the people’s money”, in response to the idiotic commenter above me.

  9. yaysocials111 - Jul 13, 2014 at 9:16 PM

    As for the systematically maligned Sochi Olympics, they did not cost “50 billion”, but rather 6.2 billion USD, of which 3.3 billion were private investments. This is nowhere near “the most expensive Olympic games in history”, and is in fact surprisingly low considering that practically every venue had to be built from scratch, including the mountain cluster, the likes of which nations normally take decades to fully develop.

  10. yaysocials111 - Jul 13, 2014 at 9:17 PM

    The ludicrous “50 billion” figure is a fabrication spread by the western-funded Russian puppet “opposition”, by conflating the money spent on the games with 44 billion dollars which were spent on unrelated infrastructure projects in the Krasnodar Krai. Unsurprisingly though, only baseless slander which harms Russia’s image abroad gets picked up and spread by the western corporate/state-run media.

    • jimeejohnson - Jul 13, 2014 at 9:28 PM

      I take it you like Stroganoff and Borscht. Other than that, you mad, bro?

      • skjln - Jul 13, 2014 at 9:45 PM

        You think that socialist will ever figure out that their choice of words make them sound like the evil characters in bad spy movies? Kinda takes the punch out of their arguments. By-the-by comrade (yaysocials111), if you have to build roads, hotels, restaurants, round up all the stray dogs, etc. just to handle the influx of tourist…you spent that money on the event. And no, I don’t receive money from the bourgeois capitalist state-run (my fav because that is all they have) war mongering elitist haters of the freedom loving mother Russia.

  11. sportsbastard - Jul 14, 2014 at 3:49 AM

    Up for re-election in 2018? Someone needs to teach the Russians the meaning of “term-limit” for craps sake.

    • godsholytrousers - Jul 14, 2014 at 9:41 AM

      Perhaps after they finish teaching the Russians about term limits, they can come over here and teach us a thing or two?

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