YEKATERINBURG, Russia (Reuters) - Twelve thousand Egypt and Uruguay fans will find themselves perched under open skies at either end of the Yekaterinburg Arena when Russia’s easternmost World Cup venue hosts its first match on Friday.
To raise the capacity to 35,000, organisers have added in steep banks of temporary seating at either end, outside the covered portion of the stadium.
The ‘inside out’ arrangement will give fans a great view from behind both goals, at the expense of leaving them exposed to the elements - an unappealing prospect if the weather is anything like Wednesday’s persistent drizzle.
Those seated at the top will need a head for heights, as the highest row of orange seats is 40 metres (130 feet) above the ground.
“These temporary stands are really very stable. And these stands are made of the famous Urals metal,” said Leonid Rapoport, sports minister of the heavily industrialised region 1,760 km (1,100 miles) east of Moscow.
“There is a Russian saying that for nature, there is no bad weather, first of all, and secondly - we hope that nature will be supportive and the weather will be fine.”
If it did rain, he added, “partly it will cool down the players on the pitch... and also the supporters in the stand.”
Apart from Friday’s game, Yekaterinburg is also due to host France against Peru, Japan against Senegal and Mexico against Sweden.
Writing by Mark Trevelyan; Editing by Christian Radnedge