- Associated Press - Sunday, May 8, 2016

MOSCOW (AP) - Russia’s Sports Minister says construction work has stopped on a stadium that will host 2018 World Cup games in the city of Samara.

Vitaly Mutko, who also sits on FIFA’s governing council, tells the R-Sport agency that “in Samara, the stadium has come to a halt; this issue must be resolved.”

Mutko did not give a reason for the unexpected work stoppage in Samara, which he said last month was already two or three months behind schedule.

That delay still left the stadium on course for completion in 2017.

State newspaper Rossiiskaya Gazeta quoted the regional government as saying the stoppage was caused by a demand by the chief contracting company, PSO Kazan, for a cost increase.

“The (federal) government has created a special working group to address issues that have arisen between the regional government and PSO Kazan, the general contractor appointed to build the stadium,” Russia’s World Cup organizing committee told The Associated Press in a statement. “This circumstance led the special working group to the decision to replace the general contractor.”

The organizing committee did not say who would replace PSO Kazan.

“All necessary guarantees were received from the Samara regional government that this change of the general contractor will not impact the construction progress,” the organizing committee said. “As scheduled, the stadium will be duly commissioned by the end of 2017.”

PSO Kazan did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

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