By Katya Golubkoca
The Russian government has ordered 30 billion roubles ($560 million) in cuts in spending on the 2018 World Cup finals, Russian news agencies reported on Monday.
No reason was given for the decision, but Russia has been hit by an economic downturn worsened by Western economic sanctions over the crisis in Ukraine and a fall in the global price of oil.
The news agencies, quoting a decree issued by the government, said total spending on the tournament would now be 631.5 billion roubles ($11.8 billion).
They later quoted Sports Minister Vitaly Mutko as saying the building and renovation of stadiums would not be affected and that savings would mostly be over work on hotels.
President Vladimir Putin says he is confident Russia will host the finals despite investigations into alleged corruption at soccer’s governing body FIFA and probes of how Russia and Qatar were awarded the 2018 and 2020 finals.