Russian Sporting Events: Where Tens of Billions Mysteriously Disappear

By Ty Duffy

The 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi will be the most expensive Olympics in history. The estimated cost has already exceeded $50 billion after an initial estimate of $12 billion, more than six times the cost of the Vancouver 2010 Games. Opposition parties estimate $25 billion to $30 billion of that was graft. The 2018 World Cup remains five years away, but the costs seem to be following a similar pattern.

Russia has revised its estimate for the World Cup cost, from $10 billion to $20 billion (South Africa spent around $5 billion in 2010). Costs on just the new Zenit St. Petersburg stadium, set to host a semi-final, have exceeded $1.1 billion, nearly twice as much as Arsenal’s Emirates Stadium in London. The venue, supposed to be completed in 2008 in its initial iteration remains under construction. A recent setback has put the Confederations Cup, four summers from now, in doubt.

This is before FIFA, who just spent more than $16 million on a two-day meeting, step into the fray with full force.

Perhaps, we should not be so cynical. If you can’t trust individuals who somehow emerged from an anarchic free-for-all with hundreds of millions, if not billions, worth of previously state-controlled assets, who can you trust?

[Photo via Getty]