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Some 29,000 foreigners visited St. Petersburg during 2020 UEFA Euro Cup matches

"This figure can be certainly increased," Saint Petersburg’s Vice Governor Boris Piotrovsky added

ST. PETERSBURG, July 12. /TASS/. Some 29,000 foreign football fans, mostly from Finland and Poland, visited Russia’s second-largest city of St. Petersburg during the 2020 UEFA Euro Cup, Saint Petersburg’s Vice Governor Boris Piotrovsky said on Monday.

"About 29,000 foreign football fans received Fan-IDs, and this is the number of foreigners, whom we hosted," Piotrovsky said addressing a news conference. "Most of them arrived from Finland but we also had many guests from Poland."

"This figure can be certainly increased," he continued. "On the one hand this is a very considerable figure for 2021, but on the other, it would have been even higher if the event was held in another year, for instance in 2019."

Russia’s Fan-ID innovation was successfully tested during the 2017 FIFA Confederations Cup, as well as during the 2018 FIFA World Cup, and earned high marks from the world’s governing football body of FIFA.

A Fan-ID holder was allowed to enter the country without having a Russian visa and stay for the duration of global football tournaments. Fan-IDs were obligatory, in addition to purchased tickets, in order to attend football matches.

A Fan-ID for a foreign football fan coming to St. Petersburg to watch 2020 Euro Cup matches allowed him or her to enter Russia without a visa for the period between May 29 and July 2, 2021.

2020 UEFA Euro Cup

The 2020 UEFA Euro Cup, which was postponed last year over the global outbreak of COVID-19, ran between June 11 and July 11, 2021, in various cities across Europe. Italy won the championship defeating England in a penalty shootout on the night of July 11 at Wembley Stadium in London.

Russia’s second-largest city of St. Petersburg was picked as a venue. It was among the 12 cities initially proposed in Europe to host European championship matches. St. Petersburg was granted the right to host three group stage matches, and one of the quarterfinals of the 2020 UEFA Euro Cup.

The decision to hold the 2020 Euro Cup, which celebrated its 60th anniversary in 2020, in various European states instead of in one or two hosting countries was made at the UEFA Executive Committee’s meeting in Lausanne, Switzerland, on December 6, 2012. It was the initiative of UEFA’s then-President Michel Platini, who proposed the concept of the 2020 tournament "EURO for Europe".

However, Ireland’s Dublin and Spain’s Bilbao pulled out of the organization of the European football championship games in early April citing anti-COVID-19 measures, and St. Petersburg was granted the right to host three additional matches of the UEFA Euro Cup, bringing a total number of matches up to seven.

The newly-built football arena in St. Petersburg hosted the opening and final matches of the 2017 FIFA Confederations Cup, and also served as one of the 12 stadiums across the country hosting matches of the 2018 FIFA World Cup. The over 62,300-seat capacity stadium was laid down in the western part of Krestovsky Island in St. Petersburg in 2007 and commissioned in early 2017. It serves as the home stadium for the Zenit St. Petersburg football club.

Following the withdrawal of Bilbao and Dublin from the list of the championship’s hosting cities, the rescheduled 2020 UEFA Euro Cup was set to be staged in 11 cities, namely in London, England; Munich, Germany; Rome, Italy; Baku, Azerbaijan; St. Petersburg, Russia; Bucharest, Romania; Amsterdam, The Netherlands; Budapest, Hungary; Glasgow, Scotland; Copenhagen, Denmark; and Seville, Spain.