The FIFA Fan Fest has hit the five-million mark as spectators have been flocking to Russia to soak up the atmosphere of the 2018 FIFA World Cup.
The milestone was reached ahead of the knockout phase – almost double the 2.9 million visitors who had attended the Fan Fest events in Brazil at the same point four years ago.
The Fan Fests, which have been part of the official programme since the 2006 edition in Germany, are free of charge across the 11 host cities and offer an array of musical and cultural entertainment.
“This is definitely the best place to watch the FIFA World Cup outside the stadium, and this huge crowd proves that,” said FIFA secretary general Fatima Samoura.
To celebrate FIFA Fan Fests at Russia 2018 surpassing the five-million mark, Samoura surprised two visitors with FIFA World Cup Final tickets on Saturday.
Thrilled to present Aleksei & his son Dennis from Vladivostok, randomly selected from crowd @ FIFA Fan Fest with 2 tickets to @FIFAWorldCup Final 🤗. I think Dennis was a bit overwhelmed by the crowd but he did a great job holding the ⚽️. Денис, молодец! Так держать!😊 pic.twitter.com/rbdhZiwitI
— Fatma Samoura (@fatma_samoura) July 1, 2018
Last week, revelations about a loophole in the Fan ID system led to the Football Supporters’ Federation (FSF) urging more England fans to travel to Russia to join in the festivities.
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.