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World Cup 2018 organisers offer FREE transport to fans with new scheme

Date Posted,July 3, 2017

England fans will be able to travel for FREE at next year’s World Cup.

Russian organisers have put into place a revolutionary new scheme – Fan ID – to offer transport around the whole country which will not cost a penny.

One of the biggest complaints from previous tournaments and also concerns about hosting the World Cup in Russia was the huge cost of travel which can run into thousands of pounds.

But the Fan ID system allows supporters to register when they buy a match ticket, get a free visa and then completely free public transport within cities and between host cities.

Former Chelsea defender Alexey Smertin , now Russia’s anti-racism and discrimination inspector and World Cup 2018 ambassador, insists fans can travel without spending a penny.

Alexei Smertin (Photo: Getty Images)
Germany’s players celebrate (Photo: REUTERS)

Smertin told Mirror Sport: “We have considered the whole journey of fans when visiting Russia for the World Cup. It isn’t just about the tickets they buy, it’s about the affordability of their whole experience when travelling to, and inside Russia.

“We have developed the free Fan ID system, that not only serves as a ticketholder’s pass to the stadiums, it is also grants visa-free access to Russia, offers free transport inside host cities, and most impressively between host cities.

“Once ticketholders obtain their Fan ID they can travel literally thousands of miles, without spending a penny. How’s that for affordability?!”

England fans travel
England fans travel in France (Photo: Daily Mirror)
England fans
England fans (Photo: Getty)

Full Q&A with Alexey Smertin

What has your view been on the Confederations Cup?

The Confederations Cup has not only been the perfect test for Russia in advance of next years’ World Cup, it has also shown that fans and teams from around the world are passionate and inspired by the opportunity to prove themselves – no matter what tournament they are competing in.

All the teams in the tournament brought the desire to win to every match, and we have seen some great football during the tournament. More importantly, fans from around the world have come together to celebrate, share their passion for football, and support the development cultural ties.

Obviously, the Confederations Cup and next year’s World Cup have thrown a lot of momentum behind football in Russia in recent years – and I know that the country is so proud to be hosting the world. It is our job to ensure that the legacy of these tournaments can be seen in future years in the continued growth of the sport here.

Has it been a success?

The tournament has undoubtedly been a success. It has provided Russia with the chance to fully test its facilities and infrastructure, and prove its ability to host one of the world’s biggest sporting events once-more. More than this, it has also shown the ‘real’ Russia to thousands of fans for the first time. A Russia that is warm, open, safe and interesting. I am confident that the fans who visited this year will return home and inspire many thousands more to head to Russia for the World Cup.

VAR in use in Russia (Photo: FIFA via Getty Images)
Cameroon players protest (Photo: Getty Images Europe)

What can be done better for the World Cup?

There are of course many learnings to take away from the Confederations Cup, but there have been no issues that have hampered the tournament or the experience of fans. The stadiums and infrastructure are coming together nicely, and everything will be ready for next year. Over the next few months we shall continue to improve infrastructure to even the most remotes parts of Russia and support the promotion of football throughout the country and around the world.

Were there any top moments for you from the Confederations Cup?

Every team brought the desire to win to the tournament, and there have been some memorable moments. Among them, I will highlight the warm welcoming of football fans from around the world in all FIFA Russian cities. It’s a little taste of the unique celebration to be expected next year during the FIFA World Cup. These displays of hospitality and warmth were the moments that inspired me the most during the tournament.

For the Russian team, the Confederations Cup has been a fantastic opportunity to get some very valuable international competitive experience ahead of the really big test: the FIFA World Cup in 2018. We have got a young, ambitious team with a very experienced and equally ambitious coach, and their performance in the tournament has proven that they will bring some high class, and high scoring, play next year.

I was proud to walk the streets of Moscow, St Petersburg, Kazan and Sochi, seeing fans from all over the world mixing with local fans and residents, and enjoying all that the tournament and Russia has to offer.

Sanchez and Vidal embrace (Photo: Getty)
Germany’s largely experimental side proved world beaters (Photo: Getty Images Europe)

Were there any top moments for you from the Confederations Cup?

Every team brought the desire to win to the tournament, and there have been some memorable moments. Among them, I will highlight the warm welcoming of football fans from around the world in all FIFA Russian cities. It’s a little taste of the unique celebration to be expected next year during the FIFA World Cup. These displays of hospitality and warmth were the moments that inspired me the most during the tournament.

For the Russian team, the Confederations Cup has been a fantastic opportunity to get some very valuable international competitive experience ahead of the really big test: the FIFA World Cup in 2018. We have got a young, ambitious team with a very experienced and equally ambitious coach, and their performance in the tournament has proven that they will bring some high class, and high scoring, play next year.

I was proud to walk the streets of Moscow, St Petersburg, Kazan and Sochi, seeing fans from all over the world mixing with local fans and residents, and enjoying all that the tournament and Russia has to offer.

What can the fans expect next year?

Bigger and better. This year we have shown that Russia is ready to welcome the world. Next year the world will come to Russia and we will host the best World Cup ever!

Chile fans show their support (Photo: Barcroft Media)
A New Zealand fan looks on (Photo: Ian Walton/Getty Images)

How confident are you that racism and discrimination won’t be a factor of the World Cup?

The Confederations Cup has been clear evidence of Russia’s ability to host a welcoming tournament for the world. Racism and discrimination are a global problem. They happen in every country. But, my aim in Russia is not just to monitor and counteract cases of discrimination so that the games are a welcoming and safe space for everyone; I see my role in changing the attitude of fans towards the sport as a whole. Helping develop an attitude that, first and foremost, they root FOR their teams, and not AGAINST others.

I would like for us to stand equal and united as FANS, and that is the spirit that Russian’s and the visiting fans and teams have embraced during the Confederations Cup and will do so again during the World Cup. There is a ball, a goal – and 90 minutes to show that you are not only devoted to your team, but also respect all those who are on the field and cheering in the stands and all around the world.

This is an issue that the organizers and I are taking very seriously and are doing everything to ensure that the games are a safe, positive, welcoming experience for all. Within my role as Anti-Discrimination Officer for the Russian Football Union, I will continue to monitor what is happening in our stadiums and other public spaces, to engage with clubs, supporters, authorities and the media, and find better solutions and mechanisms to prevent discrimination of all types. But we must remember that discrimination is an international issue and our efforts to end discrimination should likewise be international.

Are the stadiums and facilities on schedule?

I’m confident that everything will be ready on time. The Confederations Cup has been an important exercise in testing facilities and processes, and with the feedback of fans and teams, we will continue to work hard and ensure that old and new stadiums are in top shape for next year. I agree with FIFA – It’s going to be the best World Cup ever and I have full confidence that Russia is doing everything to make sure of that.

Will the matches be affordable for fans?

We have considered the whole journey of fans when visiting Russia for the World Cup. It isn’t just about the tickets they buy, it’s about the affordability of their whole experience when travelling to, and inside Russia. We have developed the free Fan ID system, that not only serves as a ticketholder’s pass to the stadiums, it is also grants visa-free access to Russia, offers free transport inside host cities, and most impressively between host cities. Once ticketholders obtain their Fan ID they can travel literally thousands of miles, without spending a penny. How’s that for affordability?!

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