Fan ID cards will be required for football fans travelling to the 2018 Russia World Cup in a bid to enhance the tournament’s security measures.
The system, where fans need to fill in a questionnaire with passport data and attach a photo on the website fan-id.ru, has been a success during the Confederations Cup, according to the director general of Russia’s Organising Committee, Alexei Sorokin.
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.
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.
“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.
More than 400,000 identity cards for supporters have been issued at this year’s Confederations Cup. This has developed security measures as supporters are only allowed inside stadiums with a match ticket and approved Fan ID.
“It’s an amazing idea, it’s easy,” one Mexico supporter told Sky Sports News. “It took a little bit [of time] to be delivered but in general it’s really good, you cannot cheat or anything. It’s simple.”
While Fan ID applications can take up to 72 hours to be approved, supporters have reportedly been seen taking photographs of themselves to finalise their ID cards within an hour of the start of games.
Some Russian locals have complained that their IDs have been denied without explanation. They have then been banned from stadiums and refused refunds on pre-paid tickets.
Fifa has no control over Fan ID cards, which are issued by the Russian government, but world football’s governing body is closely monitoring the system.
Colin Smith, Fifa’s director of competitions, said: “Any event like this provides a very important platform for all the key stakeholders to fine-tune the arrangements that are done on paper.”
Fan ID registrations for the 2018 World Cup will open after the start of ticket sales for the tournament and cards issued for the Confederations Cup will not be valid.