Industry News

Fan ID loophole could push ticketless fans to Russia

The Football Supporters’ Federation (FSF) said it hopes more England fans will travel to Russia following the exposure of a loophole in the Fan ID system.

The FSF has been able to obtain a number of Fan IDs using the same ticket reference number, allowing those without a ticket entry to the tournament.

FIFA said data protection regulations prohibited it from sharing details of fans that had bought tickets with the Russian authorities, which has led to gaps being exposed in the system.

Fan ID, which FIFA has required every supporter to obtain, replaced the need for a visa that is usually required to get into the World Cup host nation.

It is anticipated that those without tickets will be able to travel to Russia to support England in the round of 16, as Fan IDs give World Cup supporters visa-free entry into the country.

Kevin Miles, chief executive of the FSF said: “You can have a great time at the World Cup without a ticket. The experience of the fans who have been out in Russia is clearly at variance with what the expectations of a lot of people had been before the tournament.”

The reason Fan IDs do not require a match ticket is because details from the sales system are not shared by FIFA with the Russian government because of data protection regulations.

“In line with such policies FIFA doesn’t transfer any personal data of ticket customers to the Ministry of Mass Communications,” FIFA said in a statement.

“Any personal data used in connection with the issuance of Fan IDs is collected and stored by the ministry itself without any involvement from FIFA. FIFA solely provides the ministry with ticket application IDs in an anonymised procedure, thus not sharing any personal data with the ministry.”

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

The FSF said the turnout for England’s 2-1 win over Tunisia was possibly the lowest for 30 years.

Last week, Finland detained several prospective asylum seekers after they attempted to enter the country from Russia with a 2018 FIFA World Cup ticket. People use the application process as a method to get into Russia without a visa and then attempt to cross into Finland.

Image: Marco Verch