St. Petersburg Vice Governor calls his own words about gannets destroying Zenit Arena ‘fish story’

St. Petersburg Vice Governor calls his own words about gannets destroying Zenit Arena ‘fish story’
Igor Albin Photo: Roman Pimenov/TASS

Igor Albin says he feigned a story about birds destroying light-reflecting film on Zenit Arena stadium’s roof in order to sidetrack attention from the city’s other issues.

St.Petersburg Vice Governor Igor Albin has confessed he had feigned a story about birds destroying light-reflecting film on Zenit Arena stadium’s roof. He made this statement at the Influence rating award ceremony in the Hermitage main headquarters.

In his interview with Fontanka editor Aleksander Gorshkov, Albin said he had feigned a story to remove the “bad optics” off the St. St.Petersburg administration.

Albin says Andrey Kibitov, a head of the media office of the Governor’s administration, had called him and asked to switch the main topic from Zenit fans’ “odd cheerleading chants” and moving a park from the Field of Mars “to an unknown destination.”

Meanwhile, Albin’s media relations officer Elena Mikhina was then preparing an interview with Sports Daily. “We tried to dispell a myth about the stadium and convince everyone it’s the world’s, the country’s and the city’s best stadium, and we’re ready for the World Cup,” Vice Governor said. In his interview with Gorshkov, he said the birds’ issue was real due to the fact that the previous builder had not built a bird guard. However, the gannets’ theory was feigned.

In her interview with RBC, Mikhina confirmed the city’s administration was not happy about the absence of the bird guard. “It wasn’t a lie, as our colleagues tend to believe after yesterday’s confessions. It’s a creative introduction of the real issue,” the media relations officer noted.

The remark on gannets was pronounced during an interview with Sports Daily in August, 2017. The Vice Governor called for creation of an airport-like bird guard at the stadium.

Zenit Arena stadium renamed to Gazpom Arena this December had been built from 2007 to 2016. During this period, its construction cost grew up from 6.7 billion rubles ($100.4 million) to 43 billion rubles ($644.8 million). During the game in July, 2017, the stadium’s roof leaked. Work schedule related to its construction had been repeatedly delayed. 

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