MOSCOW, December 7. /TASS/. A center for issuing the Fan-IDs, which are required along with tickets for attending matches of the 2018 FIFA World Cup in Russia, opened on Thursday in the center of the Russian capital of Moscow.
The official opening ceremony of the Fan-ID center in Moscow was attended by Russian Deputy Prime Minister Vitaly Mutko, Russian Communications Minister Nikolai Nikiforov, former forward of the Russian national football team Alexander Kerzhakov, ambassadors of Russia’s 2018 World Cup hosting cities as well as other sports and public celebrities.
"This is one of the most important stages ahead of the World Cup and can be also viewed as the launch of the tournament," Mutko, who is also the president of the Russian Football Union (RFU) and the head of the Local Organizing Committee (LOC) Russia-2018, said during the opening ceremony.
"The Final Draw is over, everything is clear and we are on the brink of the most important moment, which is the distribution of tickets and acquisition of Fan-IDs," Mutko said.
Russian Communications Minister Nikiforov said "it was Russia’s initiative to introduce Fan-IDs" for the first time in FIFA World Cups history.
"Our colleagues initially expressed doubts (regarding the Fan-ID initiative), but the 2017 FIFA Confederations Cup proved that the doubts were groundless as over 500,000 people obtained Fan-ID’s, including abroad Russia," Nikiforov said. "About 90% of ticket holders obtained Fan-IDs in advance, while 10% received them at special tents, located near stadiums."
"The innovative Fan-ID technology will become a standard procedure for its use in other countries," the Russian telecoms minister added.
In late October, the Russian Ministry of Communications and Mass Media announced the launch of an on-line registration process for obtaining new Fan-IDs, which are required to attend matches of the 2018 FIFA World Cup in Russia.
The Fan-ID plays an important role in the provision of security during the major football tournament in Russia as it grants admittance to the stadiums and also serves as visa for foreign visitors to enter the country.
A holder of the Fan-ID is allowed to enter the country without having a Russian visa and stay for the duration of the global football tournaments as well as for the period of ten days before and after both of the 2017 Confederations Cup and the 2018 World Cup.
Fan-IDs are obligatory in addition for purchased tickets to attend matches of the FIFA 2017 Confederations Cup and the 2018 World Cup tournaments in Russia. They were available free of charge at designated areas located in all hosting cities across Russia as well as via e-mails and postal services during the Confederations Cup.
After successfully hosting the FIFA Confederations Cup this summer, Russia is now in full-swing preparations to host the 2018 FIFA World Cup and last week the Russian capital held the Final Draw for the championship.
The Final Draw for the 2018 FIFA World Cup was held last Friday on December 1 at the State Kremlin Palace in Moscow and determined the group breakdown for the FIFA flagship event next year. A total of 32 national football squads were divided into eight groups with four teams in each.
The country selected 11 host cities to be the venues for the matches of the 2018 World Cup and they are Moscow, St. Petersburg, Sochi, Kazan, Saransk, Kaliningrad, Volgograd, Rostov-on-Don, Nizhny Novgorod, Yekaterinburg and Samara.
The matches of the 2018 World Cup will be held between June 14 and July 15 at 12 stadiums located in the 11 mentioned above cities across Russia. Two of the stadiums are located in the Russian capital.