Industry News

FA chair “sad” at fewer England fans at WC18

Greg Clarke, chairman of the Football Association, has said he is “sad” about the lack of English fans at the 2018 FIFA World Cup in Russia.

Despite being in the 10 ten countries in terms of tickets bought, the FA boss is disappointed at the numbers being lower than previous tournaments.

The Football Supporters’ Federation said earlier this week the turnout for England’s 2-1 win over Tunisia was possibly the lowest for 30 years, ITV News reports.

England fans make up 32,362 of the 2.4 million tickets sold for the World Cup, though ticket sales will go on until July 15 when the international football tournament final is played in Moscow, so total allocations could still fluctuate.

The rest of the top 10 countries included host nation Russia with 871,797, the US with 88,825, Brazil with 72,512, Colombia with 65,234, Germany with 62,541, Mexico with 60,302, Argentina with 54,031, Peru with 43,583, and China with 40,251.

Clarke said: “I am sad that there aren’t more English people here sharing this wonderful football festival because it has surprised me.

“The efficiency, the welcome, just the warmth of the Russian people has really, really, impressed me.

“And I just wish more people had a chance to experience it first-hand.”

Asked what went wrong with the pre-tournament messaging from the FA and Foreign Office, he said: “I don’t think wrong is the right word – I think people gave good-faith advice to the best of their ability and things turned out to be a bit better.

“I would rather have that problem than the other problem. We’ve had the other problem before and things turned out badly.”

The British Foreign Office had warned football fans of “heightened” tensions between the UK and Russia in the wake of the alleged poisoning of Russian ex-spy Sergei Skripal in Salisbury.

Deputy British Ambassador to Russia Lindsay Skoll said, according to ITV News: “I think the advice has been accurate and what I can see already in Nizhny is more than Volgograd and momentum is building on to Kaliningrad as well.”

Image: Georgio