Russia have slashed their budget for the 2018 World Cup by almost 30 billion rubles (490 million euros, $560 million), the government said on Monday, without giving a reason.

The budget has been cut from 660.6 billion rubles to 631.5 billion rubles, a drop of 4.5 percent.

Russia is in the midst of a financial crisis due to western sanctions imposed over the conflict in Ukraine and a crash in the global oil price.

“The construction and renovation of stadiums will not be affected by this reduction in spending,” sports minister Vitali Mutko told sports news agency R-Sport.

“It’s about optimising the preparations, we’re going to remove excess hotel accommodation.”

In winning the right to host the 2018 World Cup, Russia committed to building nine new stadiums and refurbishing three others across the 11 host cities.

Renovation of existing infrastructure and the construction of hotels also formed part of the plan.

Despite accusations of bribery in winning the right to host the World Cup and the resignation of staunch supporter Sepp Blatter as FIFA president, Russia is continuing with its preparations for the global showpiece.

Some people are pushing to have Russia stripped of its right to host the event, as well as Qatar for the 2022 World Cup, but on Friday Russian president Vladimir Putin insisted that could not happen. – Agence France-Presse

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