June 29, 2018 / 6:38 PM / 4 months ago

Storm warning to shut down Moscow FIFA fan zone on Saturday

MOSCOW (Reuters) - Moscow’s official FIFA fan zone will be closed on Saturday due to potentially dangerous weather conditions, including possible lightning and sharp bursts of wind, Moscow city authorities said on Friday.

Soccer Football - FIFA World Cup - Saint Petersburg Stadium, St. Petersburg, Russia - June 11, 2018. A man is seen next to the FIFA World Cup logo at the stadium. REUTERS/Fabrizio Bensch

There are no World Cup games scheduled to be played in Moscow on Saturday. France are due to take on Argentina in the afternoon in Kazan, followed by a match between Uruguay and Portugal in Sochi.

Soccer fans keen to watch the two Round of 16 games scheduled to be shown on Saturday on the fan zone’s large outdoor TV screens, located on the Sparrow Hills campus of Moscow State University, will have to look for an alternate venue.

“On Saturday 30 June, the fan zone on Sparrow Hills will be temporarily shut,” the Moscow city government’s department for tourism and sport said in a statement.

“This decision has been taken due to expected poor weather conditions, including sharp gusts of wind, expected... in both daytime and in the evening,” the department added.

The fan zone is a popular area with foreign visitors and Muscovites alike. It has a maximum capacity of 25,000 people and was recently the subject of an official warning about possible overcrowding.

“Unfortunately, storms and hurricanes are no longer rare in Moscow. There’s a storm warning in place for tomorrow,” Moscow Mayor Sergei Sobyanin wrote on Twitter.

“For your safety, restrictions have been introduced on the operation of parks and on street trading, as well as temporary restriction on the fan zone in Sparrow Hills,” he added.

Reporting by Gabrielle Tétrault-Farber Writing by Polina Ivanova; Editing by Raissa Kasolowsky

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