May 25, 2018

Five travel tips for the Russia World Cup

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We are just weeks away from the start of the 2018 FIFA World Cup in Russia, with the hosts kicking off on 14 June. England’s first game will take place just four days later when they play Tunisia at Volgograd.

In the run-up to the World Cup many fans – with and without tickets – are looking to travel to Russia to join in the festival of sport.

Russia is a broad and diverse country founded on fantastic traditions and culture; however, all fans should be aware of the cultural and legal differences before travelling to ensure they have a safe and enjoyable visit.

1 - Be on the ball

Russian authorities have been working hard to shed their unfortunate reputation for hooliganism, one that has developed in some quarters following clashes at previous sporting events. Despite this hard work, travelling fans are encouraged to take their safety and security seriously and follow the advice of the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO).

The Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO), for example, has launched an 11 point checklist as part of their ‘be on the ball’ campaign and are encouraging supporters to sign up for email alerts so they can stay up to date during the tournament.

Rory Stewart, Foreign Office Minister with consular responsibilities, when launching the campaign said; “The World Cup is set to be a fantastic spectacle. I hope fans find this advice helpful in planning ahead and avoiding preventable problems. They can then focus on enjoying the tournament.”

2 - Respect the law and culture

All fans travelling to Russia should follow the advice of local authorities and respect local laws and customs. Extra care should be taken, for example, when travelling in large groups and when drinking alcohol.

The UK and Russia are closely cooperating to increase the safety of British supporters at the tournament, and enhanced security measures are going to be put in place. However, Deputy Chief Constable Mark Roberts, national lead for football policing, warned travelling supporters to extend respect to the host cities, particularly in Volgograd where England play their opening game:

“We wouldn’t expect people to come across to this country, get drunk and drape flags on the Cenotaph so we need to extend the same courtesy when we go abroad and treat places with due reverence.”

We also have some phrases that you might find helpful whilst you’re there:

A football fan’s phrasebook:

Россия, Англия, дружба [Rossiya, Angliya, druzhba] = Russia, England, friendship: to signify that you’ve come to the country with friendly intentions

Отличный матч [otlichny much] = What a great match: to signify enjoyment of the match you are watching/have seen

Я люблю Россию [Ya lyublyu Rossiyu] = I love Russia

Я люблю футбол [Ya lyublyu futbol] = I love football

3 - Ensure you are insured

Ensuring you have comprehensive travel insurance in place before you travel to Russia is essential in the unfortunate event something does go wrong.

The European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) is not valid in Russia, and the reciprocal healthcare agreement which used to be in place between the UK and Russia was terminated after from 1 January 2016.

Should you still need to arrange travel insurance, remember to check:

  1. Who exactly is covered?
    If you have existing insurance, make sure you check exactly who the policy covers. Certain policies will often cover people who live with you but it’s best to ensure that this is the case before you travel.
  2. What are you covered for?
    You should ensure adequate cover for medical costs for an injury or sudden illness abroad, emergency service and assistance, as well as personal liability, cover, in case you cause an accident and are sued abroad. Always check the terms and conditions and exclusions under the policy, and be aware that your insurance policy is likely to be invalidated if you get into trouble under the influence of excess alcohol.
  3. Have you declared, or updated your existing insurer on, any medical and pre-existing conditions?
    Failure to do so will likely invalidate your policy.

4 - Arrange your Visa / Fan ID

If you have an official ticket you will need to apply for a Fan ID. The Fan ID replaces the need for a separate visa but you must apply for it before you travel.

If you do not have an official ticket you will not be permitted entry to Russia without a visa.

Travellers without tickets will need to apply for a visa before travelling, ensuring it covers the full length of their stay and are advised to allow plenty of time to arrange it.

All supporters must ensure they travel with a passport, which should be valid for a minimum period of six months after the expiry date of your visa or your Fan ID.

5 - Know where to go for help

It is hoped most travellers will have a trouble free and enjoyable tournament but be prepared just in case anything does go wrong.

Keep details of your travel insurance policy to hand including the phone number for emergency medical assistance. Supporters travelling to Russia are also advised to store useful numbers in their phone, such as the British Embassy (007 495 956 7200) and the local emergency service number (112).

If you are in the UK and need urgent help because something has happened to a friend or relative abroad, you are advised to contact the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) in London on 020 7008 1500 (24 hours).

If you are unfortunate enough to have an accident or injury whilst travelling abroad or whilst on-board an aircraft, you should ensure you receive appropriate legal advice on your return, to assess whether you are entitled to claim compensation. Find out more about legal advice for accidents abroad here.

Finally, whether you are travelling to support England or any other team at the World Cup, we wish you a safe and enjoyable trip and look forward to a fantastic football tournament!

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