The 2017 Fifa Confederations Cup in Russia – the precursor to next year’s Fifa World Cup – kicked off yesterday (Sunday) with just 65 per cent of all tickets having been sold.

The tournament began in St. Petersburg (pictured) with host nation Russia beating New Zealand 2-0.

The Confederations Cup, which features eight teams including the hosts, world champions Germany and European champions Portugal, is used as an opportunity to test facilities and systems ahead of the World Cup, which will be held in Russia next year.

According to TAAS, the director general of Russia’s Organising Committee, Alexei Sorokin, said on Sunday: “We are at the level of 65 per cent of tickets sold. We hope that this figure will increase as the tournament proceeds further.”

Ten days prior to start of the tournament, the Local Organising Committee had expressed concern that even host Russia’s three group stage matches and the final were not sold out.

Meanwhile, the tournament’s fan-ID system, where fans need to fill in a questionnaire with passport data and attach a photo on the website, was a success, Sorokin said.

“We now have a system of fan identification and it passed a successful test yesterday. There were no glitches. It gives the right to a visa-free entry and also a ride for free,” Sorokin said.

Once fans have filled in the information online, they receive the tickets by post or at a ticket office in one of the host cities. The fan-ID also gives fans the ability to travel to the venues for free, using special shuttle trains between host cities.

Image: Andrew Shiva