Russia 'Lego advert' mocks 2018 World Cup stadium delays

Russian cartoon mocks the Zenit Arena stadium project in St Petersburg Image copyright 2x2
Image caption The cartoon calls the project a "useless waste of money"

A Russian TV channel has made a mock advert for an "unfinishable" Lego set to poke fun at St Petersburg's massively late and over-budget 2018 World Cup stadium.

The cartoon by entertainment channel 2x2 features a child bewildered by his model of the Krestovsky Stadium, or Zenit Arena, which has been under construction since 2007.

"Does your child finish their construction sets too quickly? Don't know what to occupy them with?" the voiceover asks. "Give them Lego Zenit Arena. You won't be able to build it at the first, second and even third attempt!" It ends with: "Even your child will understand the real meaning of 'useless waste of money'."

The model also comes with a figure of ex-Sports Minister Vitaly Mutko, "that you will never get rid of". Since being promoted to deputy prime minister, Mr Mutko is seen as a political survivor, despite being linked to several scandals including allegations of state-sponsored doping during his time in office.

Originally scheduled to be finished in 2011 and budgeted at 6.7bn roubles ($110m; £88m), the Zenit Arena is now expected to be ready in time to host the 2017 Fifa Confederations Cup. Its final cost is estimated at a whopping 48bn roubles ($800m; £630m), according to local news website Fontanka.ru.

The project has also been mired in corruption scandals, and is widely mocked as a "bottomless pit" on social media. Last year, the city authorities replaced the main contractor to get the project finished, but its troubles may not be over: in November, Fifa complained that the pitch was shaking.

Image copyright AFP
Image caption The Zenit Arena is due to host the semi-final of the 2018 World Cup

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