Luzhniki Stadium

A sports stadium in Moscow with total seating capacity of 78,360 seats, all covered

A view of Luzhniki Stadium from Vorobyevy Gory in Moscow
pinterest button

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».

Luzhniki Stadium
pinterest button Luzhniki Stadium Rob, CC BY 2.0

Its field is used mainly for football games by Torpedo Moscow club, who also own the sports complex, and Spartak Moscow, as well as being one of the home grounds of the Russian national football team.

It is one of the few major European stadia to use an artificial pitch, having installed a FIFA-approved FieldTurf pitch in 2002. The pitch is necessary because regular grass pitches cannot withstand the harsh Russian winters and must be replaced at high cost. However, a temporary natural grass pitch was installed for the 2008 UEFA Champions League Final.

The stadium is also used from time to time for various other sporting events and for concerts.

Stadium history

The stadium was built in 1955–56 as the Central Lenin Stadium, and was officially opened on 31 July 1956. It was the national stadium of the Soviet Union, and is now the national stadium of Russia.

It was the chief venue for the 1980 Summer Olympics, 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.

Opening ceremony of the 1980 Olympic Games
pinterest button Opening ceremony of the 1980 Olympic Games Vladimir Rodionov, CC BY-SA 3.0

In 1992, the stadium was renamed the Luzhniki Stadium. 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.

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.

Stadium in 2009: Russia vs. Germany
pinterest button Stadium in 2009: Russia vs. Germany   Rändajad, Public Domain

The Luzhniki Stadium was chosen by 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 May 21.

Prior to the match some skeptics questioned the state of the pitch and also the ability of Russian authorities to keep order amongst the traveling British fans; however, the match passed incident-free and a spokesman for the British Embassy in Moscow said,

In August 2013 the stadium hosted the World Athletics Championships.

The 2018 FIFA World Cup has been awarded to Russia and the Luzhniki Stadium has been selected by the Russia 2018 FIFA World Cup bid as the venue for the final which will be held on July 8, 2018.

The stadium will then join Rome's Stadio Olimpico, Berlin's Olympiastadion, Munich's Olympiastadion and London's Wembley Stadium as the only stadia to have hosted the finals of the FIFA World Cup, UEFA's European Cup/Champions League and featured as a main stadium of the Summer Olympic Games.

Useful Information

Luzhniki Stadium
Russian: Стадион «Лужники»
Central Lenin Stadium (1956–1992)

Admission

free

Opening hours

  • 24/7, external observation

Contacts

Luzhnetskaya imbankment, 24, bld. 2
Лужнецкая наб., 24, стр. 2

☎ +7 (495) 637-00-54
eng.luzhniki.ru

Record attendance

102,538 (USSR–Italy, 13 October 1963)

Surface

FieldTurf (grass for 2008 UEFA Champions League Final)

Tenants

USSR/Russia national football team (1956–present

Events

The Luzhniki Stadium hosted the final game of the 1957 Ice Hockey World Championship between Sweden and the Soviet Union, attended by a crowd of 55,000 and setting a new world record at the time.

Other events staged include the 1973 Summer Universiade, the 1989 Moscow Music Peace Festival and the inaugural World Youth Games in 1998.

The 2013 Rugby World Cup Sevens was held at the ground. It also hosts European games for other football clubs, such as Rubin Kazan, owing to the home stadiums of the respective clubs not meeting UEFA standards.

Artists such as Michael Jackson (1993 Dangerous Tour), The Rolling Stones, Madonna (2006 Confessions Tour), Metallica (Sick Of The Studio '07 tour), Kino, U2 (2010 U2 360° Tour) have all performed concerts in the stadium.

It also makes an appearance in the Russian 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.

New Japan Pro Wrestling, the Japanese professional wrestling promotion, ran a show in 1989 as well.

Most recently, Red Hot Chili Peppers played at the stadium on July 22, 2012.

The Alisa album Shabash is taken from two concerts performed here over two nights in late October 1990.

1982 Luzhniki Disaster

On October 20, 1982, disaster struck during the UEFA Cup match between FC Spartak Moscow and HFC Haarlem. 66 people died in the stampede, which made it Russia's worst sporting disaster at the time.