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FSF reveals hurdles World Cup fans will face in Russia

Wednesday, 30 May 2018


England fans to travel more than 4,000 miles and spend up to £5,000 to watch Gareth Southgate’s team in Russia this summer.

England fans could clock up more than 4,000 miles and take nearly a day just to travel between group matches.

However, Peru, Australia and Uruguay fans will endure the longest travel times, travelling nearly 11,000 miles and taking more than a day to reach Russia according to research released y the Football Supporters Federation and Virgin Media.

The average fan in each competing country will cumulatively travel nearly 160,000 miles and 516hrs and 19mins – equivalent of watching 374 football matches – in order to follow their team in Russia.

This is according to research carried out by Virgin Media and the Football Supporters’ Federation (FSF). The analysis looked at the total distance fans, from all 32 nations taking part in the tournament, will travel by air and road to reach their first game and then to the other matches in the group stage.

For England fans specifically, train travel was also calculated as well as expected costs for flights between host cities. In addition, a survey of England fans was carried out to discover their travel plans and estimated budget for their trip.

To help England fans heading to the tournament, the FSF has published a fan guide.

Focus on England fans

In the group stage England will play matches in Volgograd (vs Tunisia) on June 18, Nizhniy Novgorod (vs Panama) on June 24 and Kaliningrad (vs Belgium) on June 28.

The total journey from London to each host city will be 3,402 miles and 12hrs 15mins by air, or a more troublesome 4,008 miles and 73hrs and 40mins by car. Compared with the other nations taking part, England is 22nd in the table by air (including the flight to Russia) and 19th for journeys made by car to their second and third matches.

By rail it will take more than 120 hours – five days – to reach all group matches.

Travel by air: Due to the distances between each host city, fans might prefer to fly between matches – but this will come at a price. The research showed that flights from London to Volgograd for England’s first game (6hrs 20mins) would cost £450; £200 between Volgograd to Nizhniy Novgorod (1hrs 35mins); and another £103 to reach Kaliningrad (4hrs 20mins) for the last group game. All-in-all this will cost fans £753.

Travel by road: For those die-hard fans who might prefer to travel by road, to reach Volgograd for the first match it would take 42 hours (2,391 miles) from London – equivalent to four return trips between London and Newcastle upon Tyne. This would require fans to travel through the Channel Tunnel into France then via Belgium, Holland, Germany, Poland, Belarus, Ukraine and, finally, Russia. For the second game it will take 12hrs 20mins (614 miles) to reach Nizhniy Novgorod and then a further 19hrs 20mins (1,003 miles) to get to Kaliningrad for the final group game against Belgium on June 28.

Travel by train: Travelling by train gets more complicated for fans. Reaching Volgograd from London by train could take approximately 68hrs, with plenty of changes and passing through more than six countries to reach the game.

Free trains are available for all fans between host cities providing they have reserved a space. However, many routes are already full and only some trips are still available from Moscow to other host cities. This means fans will have to pay extra to complete their journeys if they want to travel from one host city to another without going via Moscow.

The only direct train England fans can get during the group stages is between Volgograd to Nizhniy Novgorod for the Panama game and this will take 27hrs 3mins – but it is not free. If England fans want to travel for free for this game they will have to head back to Moscow first before getting on a 4 hour train to Nizhniy Novgorod.

For England’s final group game against Belgium, there is no direct train service from Nizhniy Novgorod to Kaliningrad, meaning fans will have to travel back to Moscow first (4 hours) before taking a train of 20hrs 24mins to reach their destination.

Survey data
A snapshot survey of football fans travelling to Russia from England revealed that almost a quarter (23%) anticipate that their trip will cost more than £3,000. With widely varying hotel prices, match-day tickets for group games priced at £79 – £157, travel – flying to England’s group matches will cost £753 – as well as food and drink, it all adds up.

Fans will have to use a range of different transport options from game-to-game. Travelling by air is the most popular method of transport while in Russia, with 57% indicating that they would make at least one journey by plane. This is followed by train (48%) with only 5% opting to drive.

For accommodation, 65% of fans will be staying in hotels, followed by 19% opting for rented apartments. More than two thirds (66%) said that their trip to Russia will last between one to three weeks: more than a third (39%) said they had one or two tickets to watch games, with 36% having tickets to three to five matches.

When asked if any England fans had learned any Russian ahead of their trip, 95% answered that they had practised only a couple of words or none at all.

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