MOSCOW, April 23 (R-Sport) - There is an “urgent” need to improve the legacy plans for the Winter Olympic venues in Sochi and halt an exodus of skilled staff, a director of the Russian state Audit Chamber said Wednesday.
The Olympic Park on the Black Sea coast will host Formula One racing from October, while plans are afoot to create football and hockey teams to occupy some venues.
However, the future of other facilities is unclear amid disputes between different government factions over what to do with them. That includes three arenas that were designed to be dismantled and moved to other cities after the Games, although that now appears unlikely.
“The Olympic Games facilities in Sochi should be used effectively,” Audit Chamber board member Vladimir Katrenko told parliament. “Currently an outflow of specialists from these facilities is taking place. The Sports Ministry should take urgent measures.”
In January, less than two weeks before the start of the Olympics, Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev ordered his government to work with a fund backed by some of Russia’s richest men to draw up “suggestions” for future use of the Games venues.
On Tuesday, the Russian Figure Skating Federation said it had bid to host the 2017 world championships at Sochi’s Iceberg Skating Palace. Plans to move that arena elsewhere or turn it into a velodrome appear to have been shelved.
President Vladimir Putin has laid out plans to create a children’s winter sports academy using two hockey arenas in a scheme that Medvedev has said will cost around $8 million for this year alone.
A hockey team under the name Sochi Leopards is to occupy the Bolshoi Ice Dome and play in the KHL league from next season, while defunct football club Zhemchuzhina Sochi is to be resurrected to play in the Fisht Olympic Stadium, a 2018 World Cup venue.
In the mountains, the Alpine venues will revert to being ski resorts, while Russia’s cross-country skiing chief Elena Valbe last year raised doubts about the commercial viability of the Laura cross-country and biathlon complex under plans to turn it into a tourist resort.