Russia’s Sports Minister, Pavel Kolobkov, has given a cautious response to comments from counterpart Irina Grigoryeva that the Fan ID system utilised during the country’s staging of the 2018 FIFA World Cup is set to be replicated for domestic football matches.

Russia introduced Fan ID for the first time at a World Cup, with the system a necessity for fans looking to buy tickets for the tournament.

Acting as a fan passport for the national team tournament, the system involved fans filling in a questionnaire with passport data and attaching a photo via an online platform. Once fans filled in the information online, they received tickets by post or at a ticket office in one of the host cities.

The Fan ID system also gave fans the ability to travel to the venues for free, using special shuttle trains between host cities, while for overseas visitors it provided visa-free entry to Russia.

Grigoryeva, head of the Ministry of Sports department for the development of Olympic sports and competitions in Russia, said yesterday (Wednesday) that from July 1 fans would need to pass a security check before being able to buy tickets for domestic football games through a similar Fan ID system.

Grigoryeva said she hoped “these measures will allow us to increase public safety and public order (at games),” as well as attract fans who had previously shied away from attending matches because of “potential risks”.

Following the World Cup, Alexey Sorokin, chief executive of the tournament’s organising committee, said that Fan ID would also be utilised during Russia’s hosting of UEFA Euro 2020. The special edition of the national team tournament is being staged by multiple cities across Europe, with Saint Petersburg to host group stage games and a quarter-final at the Gazprom Arena.

However, when responding to Grigoryeva’s comments, Kolobkov said that while authorities are considering wider introduction of Fan ID in club football it is too early to determine the exact nature of the initiative.

“The Ministry of Sport has been instructed to consider, together with a number of departments and interested organisations, the use of a fan’s passport at football matches in Russia,” said Kolobkov, according to state news agency Tass.

“Currently this issue is under consideration. However, it’s still premature to say whether this system will be applied, when and how.”

Image: Marco Verch