Luzhniki Stadium

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Luzhniki Stadium
Luzhniki Stadium
Former namesCentral Lenin Stadium (1956–1992)
Public transit Moskwa Metro Line 1.svg Sportivnaya
Moskwa Metro Line 1.svg Vorobyovy Gory
Moskwa Metro Line 14.svg Luzhniki
Owner Government of Moscow
OperatorLuzhniki Olympic Sport Complex JSC
Capacity 81,000 (60,000 with proposed extra platform for athletics) [1]
Record attendance102,538 (Soviet UnionItaly, 13 October 1963)
Field size105 by 68 metres (114.8 yd × 74.4 yd)
SurfaceSISGrass (Hybrid Grass)
Broke ground1955
Opened31 July 1956
Renovated1996–1997, 2001–2004, 2013–2017
Construction cost€350 million (2013–2017) [2]
ArchitectPA Arena, Gmp Architekten and Mosproject-4
Russia national football team (selected matches)
CSKA Moscow (select league, cup and UEFA matches until 2013 and in 2018)
Website 55°42′56″N37°33′13″E / 55.71556°N 37.55361°E / 55.71556; 37.55361

Luzhniki Stadium (Russian:стадион «Лужники»,IPA:  [stədʲɪˈon lʊʐnʲɪˈkʲi] ) is the national stadium of Russia, 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 [3] 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. [4]

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... 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". [5]

Playing surface

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. [6] The game between Chelsea and Manchester United was the first UEFA Champions League Final in Russia. [7] [8] On the match day, UEFA gave Luzhniki its elite status. [9]

In August 2016 a permanent hybrid turf was installed, consisting of 95 percent natural grass reinforced with plastic. [10]


Background and early years

The 1980 Summer Olympics opening ceremony RIAN archive 487039 Opening ceremony of the 1980 Olympic Games.jpg
The 1980 Summer Olympics opening ceremony

On 23 December 1954, the Government of the USSR adopted a resolution on the construction of a stadium in the Luzhniki area in Moscow. [11] 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. [12]

It was a major 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.

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 [13] by the architects Alexander Vlasov, Igor Rozhin, Nikolai Ullas, Alexander Khryakov and engineers Vsevolod Nasonov, Nikolai Reznikov, Vasily Polikarpov. [14] 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. [15] Eight thousand people moved home to make place for the stadium. The Church Tikhvin, an architectural monument of the 18th century was moved, too. [16]

The stadium was officially opened on 31 July 1956, [17] with a friendly football match between the RSFSR and China. 100 thousand spectators welcomed the event. [18] [19] 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. [20] 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. [3] [21]

1980 Summer Olympics

Luzhniki Stadium during the 1980 Summer Olympics Moscow Olympic Games, 1980 (22).jpg
Luzhniki Stadium during the 1980 Summer Olympics

In 1976–1979 the sports complex was repaired for the first time. [22] The stadium was the chief venue for the 1980 Summer Olympics, [23] 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. [24] 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. [25]

1982 Luzhniki disaster

On 20 October 1982, disaster struck during a UEFA Cup match between FC Spartak Moscow and HFC Haarlem. 66 people died in the stampede, [26] which made it Russia's worst sporting disaster and most famous cover-up at the time.

1990s and 2000s

Luzhniki Stadium in 2009 Luzhniki Inside View B Stand.jpg
Luzhniki Stadium in 2009

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. [27] 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. [17] Till the renovation, the stadium could accommodate 81 thousand people. [28]

In 1998, the stadium was listed by UEFA in the list of 5-star European football stadiums. [29]

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. [30]

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." [31]

In August 2013, the stadium hosted the World Athletics Championships. [32]

Renovation for FIFA World Cup

The renovated stadium Stadion Luzhniki (29 marta 2017) * 24.jpg
The renovated stadium

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. [33] The total cost of repairs was 24 billion rubles. [34]

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. [35] The stadium's capacity was increased from 78,000 to 81,000 seats, [36] partly caused by the removal of the athletics track around the pitch. In 2018 FIFA named the stadium as best arena in the world. [37]

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.

Largest sport events

Luzhniki Stadium during 2013 IAAF World Championships Luzhniki Stadium during 2013 IAAF World Championships 20130812.jpg
Luzhniki Stadium during 2013 IAAF World Championships

Concerts and other events

Moscow Music Peace Festival Festival' v luzhnikakh2.jpg
Moscow Music Peace Festival

Notable events

The dressing room Stadion Luzhniki (29 marta 2017) * 1.jpg
The dressing room

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. [42] On 23 May 1963, Fidel Castro made a historic speech in Luzhniki Stadium during his record 38-day visit to the Soviet Union. [43]

New Japan Pro-Wrestling, the Japanese professional wrestling promotion, ran a show in 1989. [44] 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.

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. [7]

2018 FIFA World Cup

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

DateTimeTeam No. 1ResultTeam No. 2RoundAttendance
14 June 201818:00Flag of Russia.svg  Russia 5–0Flag of Saudi Arabia.svg  Saudi Arabia Group A 78,011 [45]
17 June 201818:00Flag of Germany.svg  Germany 0–1Flag of Mexico.svg  Mexico Group F 78,011 [46]
20 June 201815:00Flag of Portugal.svg  Portugal 1–0Flag of Morocco.svg  Morocco Group B 78,011 [47]
26 June 201817:00Flag of Denmark.svg  Denmark 0–0Flag of France.svg  France Group C 78,011 [48]
1 July 201817:00Flag of Spain.svg  Spain 1–1 (3–4 pen.)Flag of Russia.svg  Russia Round of 16 78,011 [49]
11 July 201821:00Flag of Croatia.svg  Croatia 2–1 ( a.e.t. )Flag of England.svg  England Semi-final 78,011 [50]
15 July 201818:00Flag of France.svg  France 4–2Flag of Croatia.svg  Croatia Final 78,011 [51]

Security measures

The stadium prior to the 2018 FIFA World Cup Final kick-off Final of the Soccer World Cup Russia between the national teams of France and Croatia.jpg
The stadium prior to the 2018 FIFA World Cup Final kick-off

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. [52]

Services for fans

The stadium stands included special observation areas for people with disabilities, which offered space for wheelchairs and accompanying persons. In addition, after the reconstruction, the stadium was equipped with special extra-wide seats for plus-size spectators. Additional services for spectators available at the stadium: navigation assistance from volunteers, storage rooms, registration of children, lost and found office, and audio descriptive commentary for blind or visually impaired fans.[ citation needed ]

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Coordinates: 55°42′57″N37°33′13″E / 55.71583°N 37.55361°E / 55.71583; 37.55361

Events and tenants
Preceded by
Stadio Comunale
Summer Universiade
Opening and closing ceremonies

Succeeded by
Stadio Olimpico
Preceded by
Olympic Stadium
Summer Olympics
Opening and closing ceremonies (Olympic Stadium)

Succeeded by
Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum
Los Angeles
Preceded by
Olympic Stadium
Summer Olympics
Olympic Athletics competitions
Main venue

Succeeded by
Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum
Los Angeles
Preceded by
Olympic Stadium
Summer Olympics
Men's football final venue

Succeeded by
Rose Bowl
Los Angeles (Pasadena)
Preceded by
Parc des Princes
Final venue

Succeeded by
Parken Stadium
Preceded by
Olympic Stadium
UEFA Champions League
Final venue

Succeeded by
Stadio Olimpico
Preceded by
Daegu Stadium
IAAF World Championships in Athletics
Main venue

Succeeded by
Beijing National Stadium
Preceded by
The Sevens Stadium
Rugby World Cup Sevens
Men's venue

Succeeded by
AT&T Park
San Francisco
Preceded by
Arena Corinthians
São Paulo
FIFA World Cup
Opening venue

Succeeded by
Al Bayt Stadium
Al Khor
Preceded by
Estádio do Maracanã
Rio de Janeiro
FIFA World Cup
Final venue

Succeeded by
Lusail Iconic Stadium