World Cup stadiums must not turn into flea markets, says Putin

06:11 PM | 7 Jun, 2018
World Cup stadiums must not turn into flea markets, says Putin
MOSCOW - Russian President Vladimir Putin firmly told regional leaders Thursday not to turn World Cup arenas into flea markets once the football showpiece wraps up next month.

Space around stadiums such as Moscow's Luzhniki became bustling hubs that sold everything from fruit to clothes during Russia's post-Soviet economic crisis in the 1990s.

The money helped pay for the land but also fed unregulated and crime-driven trade; the authorities tore them down once growth picked up and Moscow acquired Western-style shopping centres.

The one in Luzhniki only closed its doors in 2011. Putin told an annual televised phone-in that the World Cup kicking off next Thursday must leave a lasting sports legacy in which the new arenas play an integral part.

"I want to address colleagues from the regions -- no matter what, you cannot allow these venues to suddenly turn into some sort of markets like those in the mid 1990s," Putin said.

"That is categorically inadmissible." he added.

The FIFA world cup is set to begin from June 14th and security has already been ramped up in Russia to avoid any untoward incident.