The 2018 World Cup in Russia presents a unique opportunity to visit the largest country on earth while it is in celebratory mood, hosting the biggest sporting event on the planet.
Fifa’s Secretary-General, Fatma Samoura, says: “Throughout history, fans have made a key contribution to the fascination of the Fifa World Cup. Russia promises to be a unique continuation of this history, with outstanding organisation and a great atmosphere in the stadiums.”
The matches will be played in some superb cities, and a special easing of the usual red tape means that football fans can watch games and sightsee without needing to apply for a Russian visa. But the country presents some challenges, from access to crime. This travel survival kit aims to help you make the most of the 2018 World Cup.
When and where?
The 21st World Cup takes place in Russia from 14 June to 15 July 2018. The first and last matches will be played at the Luzhniki Stadium in south-west Moscow, 1,550 miles from Wembley. The capital’s Spartak Stadium is also being used.
All the other venues are in western Russia, with only Yekaterinburg on the eastern side of the Urals; 2,430 miles from Wembley.
The closest to Britain is Kaliningrad, the city wedged in a Russian enclave between Poland and Lithuania. It is just 900 miles from Wembley. Next closest is St Petersburg, 1,290 miles from Wembley.
The remainder are further than Moscow but closer than Yekaterinburg: Kazan, Nizhny Novgorod, Rostov-on-Don, Samara, Saransk, Sochi and Volgograd.
Sign me up!
You’ll need to buy a “ticket-inclusive hospitality package” from the only company licensed to sell them: MATCH Hospitality. For 19 matches (including the opening game, both semis and finals) you can sign up for a package that provides top-grade suites at the Luzhniki and Spartak stadiums in Moscow, and the St Petersburg venue, you pay between US$1.5m (£1.14m) and US$2.8m (£2.12m). Flights and accommodation extra.