Gaborone — Ambassador of Russia to Botswana, Victor Sibilev has promised visiting football supporters an enjoyable experience during the 2018 FIFA World Cup.
Russia, the world's largest country by territory with a population of 146 million, will host football's showpiece competition next year in June and July.
Sibilev said in an interview that Russia had put in place measures to ensure a fun-filled tournament for international spectators attending the event.
The measures, he said included free public transport and visa-free entry to Russia for foreign citizens with World Cup fan identity card.
"Spectators, athletes and officials will enjoy a rich and varied experience amid the unique geography and diverse cultures of the host cities. During the championship, a wide public transport network will be available to fans. The guests will be able to use public transport free of charge within cities, transfer from the airport to the city, and also intercity trains," he said.
He said over 500 additional trains would be provided during the World Cup. "For ease of navigation and to help fans find their transport quicker, it will be marked with a specially designed logo," he added.
He said an interesting innovation they had developed was the FAN ID. He explained that the FAN ID was a personalised map of a spectator, which every person who bought a ticket to 2018 FIFA World Cup matches, should obtain.
"A FAN ID gives the right to travel for free between the host cities, and also on city public transport; buses, trolleybuses, trams, underground, on suburban trains and aero-express trains that connect airports with the city centre. A FAN ID grants foreign citizens a visa-free entry to the territory of Russia during the tournament," he added.
Sibilev said more than half of the Russian population were football fans and they had high expectations of the tournament.
He said preparations had gone well adding that 12 stadiums in 11 cities across Russia would host matches. He said five stadiums were already in working order including the Spartak Stadium in Moscow, Kazan Arena, Saint Petersburg Stadium and Fisht Stadium in Sochi as well as Moscow's Luzhniki Stadium. He said preparations had entered final stages at the seven other stadiums.
"When opening the ceremony (draw for the FIFA World Cup), president Putin said that Russia is eager for the World Cup to start and intends to make it an event of the highest quality, where leading world football players will be able to show their mastery of the game, to show real big football," he said.
On the issue of ticket sales, he said from 5 December 2017 to 31 January 2018, fans could order individual match tickets for all matches (except for the opening match and final) and venue-specific tickets for all stadiums, as well as supporter tickets for official fans of the 32 teams.
He said over 2 300 000 tickets had been requested since 5 December. "We know that some of Botswana citizens have already bought tickets and are getting prepared to go to Russia," he added. He said there were four categories of tickets. He said category four was reserved exclusively for residents of Russia while the rest was available to all customers.
He said a ticket for a group match costs from between USD105 (about P1 000) to USD210 (over P2 000).
He explained that the cheapest tickets for quarter-finals as well as the 3rd/4th place match cost USD175 (over P1 700), for semi-finals USD285 (over P2 800), and between USD455 (about P4 500) and USD1100 (over P10 000) for the final.
Source : BOPA