The 44 000-seater stadium is set to host four World Cup matches. Mordovia Arena has almost exactly the same shape as FNB Stadium and both feature mosaic-like exteriors.

The British iTV reported that the Mordovia Arena’s shape and exterior patterns are inspired by Mordovian folk art, while FNB Stadium was inspired by a calabash and the cladding is said to resemble fire and earth.

Business Insider South Africa reports that the stadium, which opened its doors recently ,was designed by Russian architects SaranskGrazhdanProekt. The South African architects of the FNB Stadium told the publication that they are not offended by the similarity.

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Bob van Bebber, Director at architecture firm Boogertman + Partners, was quoted as saying that “copying is the highest act of flattery”.

According to Van Bebber, there are distinct similarities in the pattern on the façade of the stadium. “Not that we are accusing them of copying. I think our narrative which informed the design of Soccer City [FNB Stadium], will definitely be different to their narrative, if they have one.”

The Russian authorities have, however described the similarities as a pure coincidence. “No more than an accidental coincidence,” a response issued to Business Insider South Africa read.

“But we certainly like the resemblance to the [FNB] Stadium, which hosted the opening matches and the finals of the FIFA World Cup in 2010,” the directorate was quoted as saying.

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Russian authorities said the final version of visualisation is connected to a greater degree with the symbols of the Republic of Mordovia, which in their country is called “solar”.

Source: Business Insider South Africa