Poor ticket sales are expected for the Russia 2018 Fifa World Cup as Foreign Office chiefs say the competition will “struggle” to shift seats due to fears of violence.
According to the Sun newspaper, the officials said in a memo to colleagues in London after visiting Russian stadiums that: “There are signs that ticket sales will struggle, partly due to Russia’s poor international reputation including for hooliganism.”
British and Russian police have reportedly met to discuss hooliganism at the tournament, claiming that there will be “enhanced security measures,” the Foreign Office said.
The 2017 Fifa Confederations Cup in Russia – the precursor to the Fifa World Cup – kicked off this summer with just 65 per cent of tickets having been sold.
The Confederations Cup, which featured eight teams including the hosts, world champions and 2017 winner Germany and European champions Portugal, is used as an opportunity to test facilities and systems ahead of the World Cup.
Ten days prior to start of the tournament, the Local Organising Committee (LOC) had expressed concern that even host Russia’s three group stage matches and the final were not sold out.
The World Cup in 2018 will be held across 11 different cities, including Moscow, St. Petersburg, Sochi, Kazan, Saransk, Kaliningrad, Volgograd, Rostov-on-Don, Nizhny Novgorod, Yekaterinburg and Samara.
Tickets are expected to go on sale after the final draw scheduled for December 1 in Moscow, of which the LOC is hoping to increase the number of cheap fourth category tickets made available for Russian nationals.