With less than a year to go until the 2018 FIFA World Cup in Russia, the Foreign Office has launched a campaign to help fans travelling to support their team.
The ‘Be on the Ball’ campaign gives supporters simple advice and tips to help reduce preventable problems and boost their World Cup experience.
The campaign launch sees the release of the FCO’s Russia 2018 travel advice, a checklist and a Fan Survey.
The World Cup specific travel advice suggests hopeful ticket holders should apply for a FAN ID, which will give them free travel on match day, enable those with tickets to access stadiums, and will even act as their visa for the tournament.
There’s also advice for fans without tickets, who will need to apply for a visa to travel.
Fans can sign up for email alerts so they stay up to date ahead of, and during the tournament.
The 11 point checklist gives travellers the simple steps they need to be ready for Russia – looking at healthcare, passport validity, emergency numbers and other essentials.
Fans are also encouraged to complete the Fan Survey.
By sharing their experiences on travelling abroad for sport events, fans will help the FCO improve their support and advice for those travelling to the World Cup.
Rory Stewart, Foreign Office minister with consular responsibilities, said: “The Foreign Office is here to support any British fans planning to travel to Russia and the Be on The Ball campaign includes a range of practical advice from checking your visa requirements to getting travel insurance.
“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.”
The UK and Russia are closely cooperating to increase the safety of British supporters at the tournament, including a visit for the UK police to Russia and a reciprocal visit from the Russian police to the UK.
During the tournament, enhanced security measures will be in place to help ensure a trouble-free time for travellers.
Kevin Miles, chief executive of the Football Supporters’ Federation, said: “Following your club away is a great experience but if you’re going overseas it requires a bit more planning.
“Following the FCO travel advice is a great way to stay up to date with the latest information – and if you’re already thinking about the World Cup next year, have a look at their Be on the Ball campaign to help start your preparations.”
Over 300,000 UK fans travelled to France last summer, to support three home nations during the European Championships.
In 2014, 20,000 fans travelled to Brazil to see England compete.
Last year, Britons made 150,000 visits to Russia.