By Duncan Mackay

Luzhniki Stadium from outsideNovember 25 - There is a row in Russia over whether Moscow's Luzhniki Stadium, which hosted the 1980 Olympics, should be demolished and rebuilt in time for the 2018 FIFA World Cup or saved because of its historic importance.

Sports Minister Vitaly Mutko, who is also chairman of Russia 2018, has again raised the possibility of knocking the Stadium down next year after it has hosted the International Association of Athletics Federations World Championships and building a new arena on the site.

But Mosproekt-4, the Government funded agency overseeing the renovation of the Stadium, has said that it should be renovated while keeping its key architectural features.

The 80,000-capacity arena, built in 1956 and refurbished for the 1980 Summer Olympics, where Sebastian Coe and Steve Ovett staged their classic duels, is due to host the opening match and final of the 2018 World Cup.

Sebastian Coe wins the Olympic 1500m Moscow 1980Sebastian Coe beat Steve Ovett to win the Olympic 1500m gold medal in the Luzhniki Stadium at the 1980 Olympics

It had been thought that the idea of demolishing the Stadium and rebuilding had been considered and discared.

But now Mutko has again raised the possibility.

"The Moscow City Government has not yet examined the concept completely," he said.

"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."

But Dmitry Bush, the design partner at Mosproekt-4, claimed that the Stadium, which also hosted the 2008 UEFA Champions League final between Manchester United and Chelsea, should be saved.

He claimed that the Moscow City Government has already "has come out in favour of saving the facade of the Large Sports Arena [Luzhniki]".

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