Moscow's iconic Luzhniki Stadium could be demolished and rebuilt from scratch for the 2018 World Cup.
The 80,000-capacity arena, built in 1956 and refurbished for the 1980 Summer Olympics, is the venue for the final of the football extravaganza in six years' time.
Officials have said it needs considerable upgrades ahead of 2018 but Russian Sports Minister Vitaly Mutko admitted for the first time Tuesday that authorities are considering levelling the Soviet behemoth and starting anew all over.
"The Moscow city government has not yet examined the concept completely. There is the refurbishment option but that's very tricky from a technical point of view. You know that sometimes modernising arenas can be more expensive than building all over again. There is the demolition option. We'll see what Moscow decides soon enough," Mutko said.
Mutko said Luzhniki, which also hosts the opening ceremony and, most likely, one of the semi-finals, currently falls short of FIFA's "tough" demands on fan comforts, capacity, hospitality, and media facilities.
Luzhniki is one of 12 existing or planned stadiums in 11 cities to be used for the World Cup.