An aerial view of the new soccer stadium on Krestovsky Island which will host some 2018 World Cup matches in St. Petersburg, Russia. . Photo: Dmitri Lovetsky/AP

Russian authorities have begun laying fresh turf at the problematic new stadium in Saint Petersburg, officials said Monday, less than a month before it is due to host the Confederations Cup opener.

Workers are rushing to get the pitch at the 68 000-seater stadium fit to host Russia against New Zealand on June 17 after officials were forced to scrap a final trial game over the dire state of the playing surface.

"A new grass covering is being laid at Saint Petersburg stadium," Igor Lebedev, a member of the Russian Football Union's executive committee, told TASS news agency.

Saint Petersburg's news site Fontanka reported that the turf on the pitch has been partly removed.

The pitch issue is the latest headache to hit the $800-million venue in Russia's second city – which is also meant to host 2018 World Cup games.

Construction of the arena, which will serve as a home ground for Zenit St Petersburg, began in 2007 but was only finished in December after spiralling bills and missed deadlines.