Luzhniki Stadium

The 1980 Summer Olympics opening ceremony

The 1980 Summer Olympics opening ceremony

Luzhniki Stadium during the 1980 Summer Olympics

Luzhniki Stadium during the 1980 Summer Olympics

Luzhniki Stadium in 2009

Luzhniki Stadium in 2009

The renovated stadium

The renovated stadium

Luzhniki Stadium (Russian: стадион «Лужники», IPA: [stədʲɪˈon lʊʐnʲɪˈkʲi]) is the national stadium of Russia, located in its capital city, Moscow. The full name of the stadium is Grand Sports Arena of the Luzhniki Olympic Complex. Its total seating capacity of 81,000 makes it the largest football stadium in Russia and the ninth-largest stadium in Europe. The stadium is a part of the Luzhniki Olympic Complex, and is located in Khamovniki District of the Central Administrative Okrug of Moscow city. The name Luzhniki derives from the flood meadows in the bend of Moskva River where the stadium was built, translating roughly as "The Meadows". The stadium is located at Luzhniki Street, 24, Moscow.,

Luzhniki was the main stadium of the 1980 Olympic Games, hosting the opening and closing ceremonies, as well as some of the competitions, including the final of the football tournament. A UEFA Category 4 stadium, Luzhniki hosted the UEFA Cup final in 1999 and UEFA Champions League final in 2008. The stadium also hosted such events as Summer Universiade, Goodwill Games and World Athletics Championships. It was the main stadium of the 2018 FIFA World Cup and hosted 7 matches of the tournament, including the opening match and the final.

In the past, its field has been used as the home ground at various times for football games played by CSKA Moscow, Spartak Moscow and Torpedo Moscow. However, there are currently no clubs based at the stadium. Today, it is mainly used as one of the home stadiums of the Russia national football team. The stadium is used from time to time for various other sporting events and for concerts. It is also used to host the finals of the Russian domestic cup.

The stadium is located in Khamovniki District of the Central Administrative Okrug of Moscow city, south-west of the city center. The name Luzhniki derives from the flood meadows in the bend of Moskva River where the stadium was built, translating roughly as "The Meadows". It was necessary to find a very large plot of land, preferably in a green area close to the city center that could fit into the transport map of the capital without too much difficulty.

According to one of the architects: "On a sunny spring day of 1954, we, a group of architects and engineers who were tasked with designing the Central stadium, climbed onto a large paved area on the Lenin Hills [which after the Soviet era would revert to their old name, the Sparrow Hills ]... the proximity of the river, green mass of clean, fresh air – this circumstance alone mattered to select the area of the future city of sports... In addition, Luzhniki is located relatively close to the city center and convenient access to major transport systems with all parts of the capital".

It was one of the few major European football stadia to use an artificial pitch, having installed a FIFA-approved FieldTurf pitch in 2002. However, a temporary natural grass pitch was installed for the 2008 UEFA Champions League Final. The game between Chelsea and Manchester United was the first UEFA Champions League final held in Russia. On the match day, UEFA gave Luzhniki its elite status.

In August 2016 a permanent hybrid turf was installed, consisting of 95 percent natural grass reinforced with plastic.

On 23 December 1954, the Government of the USSR adopted a resolution on the construction of a stadium in the Luzhniki area in Moscow. The decision of the Soviet Government was a response to a specific current international situation: By the early 1950s, Soviet athletes took to the world stage for the first time after World War II (rus. the Great Patriotic War), participating in the Olympic Games. The 1952 Summer Olympics in Helsinki brought the Soviet team 71 medals (of which 22 gold) and second place in the unofficial team standings.

It was a success, but the increased athletic development of the Soviet Union, which was a matter of state policy, required the construction of a new sports complex. The proposed complex was to meet all modern international standards and at the same time serve as a training base for the Olympic team and arena for large domestic and international competitions.[citation needed]

The stadium was built in 1955–56 as the Grand Arena of the Central Lenin Stadium. The design began in January 1955 and was completed in 90 days by the architects Alexander Vlasov, Igor Rozhin, Nikolai Ullas, Alexander Khryakov and engineers Vsevolod Nasonov, Nikolai Reznikov, Vasily Polikarpov. Building materials came from Leningrad and the Armenian SSR, electrical and oak beams for the spectator benches from the Ukrainian SSR, furniture from Riga and Kaunas, glass was brought from Minsk, electrical equipment from Podolsk in Moscow Oblast, and larch lumber from Irkutsk in Siberia. It was necessary to demolish a whole area of dilapidated buildings (including the Trinity Church, which is supposed to be restored). Because the soil was heavily waterlogged, almost the entire area of the foundations of the complex had to be raised half a meter. 10,000 piles were hammered into the ground and dredgers reclaimed about 3 million cubic metres of soil. The total area of the stadium occupies 160 hectares. Eight thousand people moved home to make place for the stadium. The Church Tikhvin, an architectural monument of the 18th century was moved, too.

The stadium was officially opened on 31 July 1956, with a friendly football match between the RSFSR and China. 100 thousand spectators welcomed the event. The stadium was built in just 450 days. It was the national stadium of the Soviet Union, and is now the national stadium of Russia. In 1960 a 26-foot bronze statue of Lenin by sculptor Matvei Manizer, which was created for Expo 58 in Brussel, was placed on the square in front of the main stadium entrance.

In 1976–1979 the sports complex was repaired for the first time. The 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. Then General Secretary of the CPSU Central Committee and Chairman of the Presidium of the USSR Supreme Soviet Leonid Brezhnev declared the XXII Summer Olympic Games open.

On 20 October 1982, disaster struck during a UEFA Cup match between FC Spartak Moscow and HFC Haarlem. 66 people died in the stampede, which made it Russia's worst sporting disaster and most famous cover-up at the time.

In the spring of 1992, the state enterprise, including the sports complex, was privatized and renamed the Luzhniki Olympic Complex, and by June of the same year, Lenin's name was removed. An extensive renovation in 1996 saw the construction of a roof over the stands, and the refurbishment of the seating areas, resulting in a decrease in capacity. Till the renovation, the stadium could accommodate 81 thousand people.

In 1998, the stadium was listed by UEFA in the list of 5-star European football stadiums.

The stadium hosted the 1999 UEFA Cup Final in which Parma defeated Marseille in the second UEFA Cup final to be played as a single fixture.

The Luzhniki Stadium was chosen by the 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 21 May. The match passed incident-free and a spokesman for the British Embassy in Moscow 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."

In August 2013, the stadium hosted the World Athletics Championships.

The original stadium was demolished in 2013 to give a way for the construction of a new stadium. However, the self-supported cover was retained. The facade wall was retained as well, due to its architectural value, and was later reconnected to the new building. Construction of the new stadium was completed in 2017. The total cost of repairs was 24 billion rubles.

The 2018 FIFA World Cup was held in Russia with the Luzhniki Stadium selected as the venue for the opening match and also the final, which was held on 15 July 2018. For the 2018 World Cup the stadium organized six checkpoints with 39 inspection lanes and seven pedestrian points with 427 points for the passage of spectators. About 900 scanners, 3000 cameras and monitors were installed. Special seats were provided for fans with disabilities. The stadium's capacity was increased from 78,000 to 81,000 seats, partly caused by the removal of the athletics track around the pitch. In 2018 FIFA named the stadium as best arena in the world.

The stadium joins Rome's Stadio Olimpico, London's old Wembley Stadium, Berlin's Olympiastadion and Munich's Olympiastadion as the only stadiums to have hosted the finals of the FIFA World Cup and UEFA's European Cup/Champions League and featured as a main stadium of the Summer Olympic Games. Saint Denis' Stade de France is scheduled to become another in 2024.[citation needed]

When the Luzhniki Stadium hosted the final game of the 1957 Ice Hockey World Championship between Sweden and the Soviet Union, it was attended by a crowd of 55,000 and set a new world record at the time. On 23 May 1963, Fidel Castro made a historic speech in Luzhniki Stadium during his record 38-day visit to the Soviet Union.

New Japan Pro-Wrestling, the Japanese professional wrestling promotion, ran a show in 1989. Luzhniki Stadium also makes an appearance in the Russian supernatural thriller film Night Watch (Russian: Ночной дозор, Nochnoy Dozor), 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.[citation needed]

In 2008, Manchester United beat Chelsea on penalties after a 1–1 draw to win their third European Cup. This was United's third appearance in the final, and Chelsea's first.

On 18 March 2022, Russian president Vladimir Putin held a rally at the stadium marking the eighth anniversary of the annexation of Crimea by the Russian Federation and to draw support for Russia's invasion of Ukraine. It was attended by approximately 200,000 supporters, according to police, with media reports suggesting that state employees were bussed to the rally while others were paid or forced to attend.

Luzhniki Stadium hosted seven games of the 2018 FIFA World Cup, including the opening and the final matches.

During the World Cup, Luzhniki had six access control stations with 39 inspection lines, and seven access control points with 427 entrances for fans arriving on foot. The grounds were serviced by 3,000 surveillance cameras and about 900 scanners, monitors, and detectors.

Coordinates: 55°42′57″N 37°33′13″E  /  55.71583°N 37.55361°E  / 55.71583; 37.55361


Feature Images

Luzhniki Stadium during 2013 IAAF World Championships

Luzhniki Stadium during 2013 IAAF World Championships

Moscow Music Peace Festival

Moscow Music Peace Festival

The dressing room

The dressing room

The stadium prior to the 2018 FIFA World Cup Final kick-off

The stadium prior to the 2018 FIFA World Cup Final kick-off

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