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Six Russian football arenas ready to introduce Fan-ID system, says sports official

The project is being developed, Russian Football Union’s development chief executive Maxim Mitrofanov noted

MOSCOW, May 19. /TASS/. Six football stadiums across Russia will resort to using Fan-ID system beginning with a new season of the Russian Premier League (RPL), Maxim Mitrofanov, the Russian Football Union’s (RFU) development chief executive, said on Thursday.

"Fan-ID is the project supervised by the Russian Sports Ministry and the Ministry of Digital Development, Communications and Mass Media. This project is being developed," he said.

"Being a part of a work group we fulfill at full volume everything that we are asked for, organizing interaction between the authorities and [football] clubs regarding the preparation of stadiums," he continued. "As of today, we are aiming to launch this system at six stadiums starting with the next season."

"We are maintaining our constructive stance speaking about all problematic issues, which emerge on our way," Mitrofanov said. "However, this is a state project, we have legal orders and our aim is to follow them."

Asked to specify the names of football stadiums, where the Fan-ID system would be introduced, Mitrofanov said "It will be the stadiums, which first of all, hosted matches of the 2018 [FIFA] World Cup."

On December 30, 2021, Russian President Vladimir Putin signed into law a draft on the introduction of Fan-ID documents, which will be required for fans to attend sports tournaments in the country starting from June 1, 2022.

The bill was passed earlier in all readings by the State Duma - the lower house of the Russian parliament - with an amendment correcting the date of the new regulation’s introduction, which now stands at June 1, 2022. Russia’s Federation Council - the upper house of the country’s parliament - approved the bill on December 24, 2021.

Russia’s Fan-ID 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 - FIFA. The Fan-ID system was also in place during matches of the 2020 UEFA Euro Cup in St. Petersburg last summer.

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.

2018 FIFA World Cup in Russia

Russia hosted its first-ever FIFA World Cup in 2018, which kicked off in Moscow with a remarkable opening show at Luzhniki Stadium on the evening of June 14, 2018, and ended with a spectacular final match, also played at Luzhniki Stadium, where France boldly defeated Croatia 4-2 to win the much-coveted World Cup Trophy.

The championship was organized at 12 stadiums in 11 cities across Russia, namely in Moscow, St. Petersburg, Sochi, Kazan, Saransk, Kaliningrad, Volgograd, Rostov-on-Don, Nizhny Novgorod, Yekaterinburg, and Samara.

FIFA President Gianni Infantino said after the world championship that Russia had staged "the best World Cup ever." In late December 2018, FIFA announced in its statement that the World Cup in Russia set a new record as far as audiences go in the history of world football championships since over half of the world’s population watched these matches on TV at home, outside their domains or on digital platforms.