The Yekaterinburg Arena, then still called Central Stadium, was built between 1953 and 1957. The stadium was initially a multi-sports arena, also hosting athletics and ice skating events.
Central Stadium, with a capacity of 27,000, remained largely unchanged in the next decades until plans were made in the mid 2000-s to extensively redevelop the stadium. Works started in 2007, and, after multiple delays, were completed in 2011, giving the stadium an extensive make-over, but keeping the athletics track and sticking with a similar capacity as before.
Round the same time, Russia got awarded the 2018 World Cup, and soon after Yekaterinburg was shortlisted as one of the host cities for the tournament, which got confirmed in 2012.
Unfortunately, the recently renovated Central Stadium did not meet FIFA standards, and thus new redevelopment plans had to be made. The protected external facade would have to be preserved, but otherwise the entire interior had to get rebuilt, boosting capacity to 45,000 seaIn November 2010, the construction of reinforced concrete structures of two additional grandstands - the south and north - was finalized. Roofing work is finalized and closed the thermal path to the east and west stands. Work on the landscaping included lawns decorated, organized and paved parking for special mobile TV stations and specialized in the sports complex and complete reconstruction of the stadium's outer fence, which has retained its historic appearance. Preparatory work for the installation of spectator seating was also conducted. Stable funding to finish the stadium was provided in the summer of 2011. In October 2015 began another full reconstruction of the stadium.
It took a long time for the project to be given the go ahead, even casting doubts on Yekaterinburg’s status as a host city, but construction works eventually kicked off in the spring of 2015.
For the World Cup the stadium has a capacity of 35,696 spectators, 12,000 of which are temporary seating. After the World Cup, these 12,000 seats will be removed, resulting in a capacity of around 23,000
The stadium retains its recognizable historical façade, although a roof and temporary stands was installed for the 2018 FIFA World Cup™.
During refurbishment, the stadium's historical façade remained untouched, as an architectural legacy. Architectural and decorative features typical of Soviet neo-Classicism were used lavishly in the construction of the stands, along with decorative art in the form of sculptures, vases and banners.
As the stadium was chosen as one of the venues of the 2018 FIFA World Cup, temporary stands extending outside the original perimeter of the stadium were erected so as to comply with the FIFA requirement on seats for 35,000 spectators.
The stadium will provide three types of seats, including special places for people with disabilities and sectors for the fans. In the east and west stands 30% of seats will be placed under a canopy. Security systems, surveillance, telecommunications, video feed and audio experience will enable high levels of service and safety to the stadium.
The kernel of the stadium brings together a football pitch with natural turf 105x68 m size and an athletic complex, consisting of eight racetracks, areas for long jump, triple jump and shot put. Grand Sports Arenalmeets international standards of FIFA and UEFA, the Russian Athletics Federation, as well as international agencies, cultural events and concerts. Under the stands will be places for sports facilities, accommodation for athletes, judges, medical teams and complexes catering. Near the sports center area will be parking and flat sporting facilities: a football field with artificial turf, and tennis courts.
In the stadium, it is planned to build a fitness center (2500–3000 m²)and Valeological center (1500 m²), which will be an organized system of fast-food outlets to serve the audience, and there will also be a restaurant with 200-300 seats including a parking lot with 3.200 car spaces close to the stadium.
There is a developed modern access system to the stadium, providing security and evacuation systems that meet international requirements.