The new season is almost upon us and for those in European competitions, supporters will be looking at their potential opponents. Not just to weigh up the opposition, but also to work out any potential and no doubt costly travel arrangements.
The likelihood is that at least one English team will be drawn against a Russian team, which will mean the cost and inconvenience of a visa application.
With the requirement to now attend the Russian Visa centre in person for Biometric collection, (not ideal for any supporters, especially those based outside of London as the two centres are in London & Edinburgh) not only is the cost a major issue, but for most supporters an extra day’s leave from work is required.
Spirit of Shankly, Tottenham Hotspur Supporters’ Trust, Chelsea Supporters’ Trust, Manchester United Supporters’ Trust, Manchester City’s 1894 group, Arsenal Supporters’ Trust, Everton’s Supporters’ Trust and Blue Union call upon UEFA and their respective clubs to work with the Foreign & Commonwealth Office to ensure that a supporters’ ticket is sufficient as a visa should any English teams be drawn in Russia.
It is evident that this is more than a possibility due to the relaxation of the requirements for the Confederations Cup that was hosted in Russia earlier this year. With a valid match ticket supporters were able to apply for a fan ID, which in effect became their visa. We see no reason why this cannot be applied for UEFA competitions.
Similarly, we call for the British Government to apply the same sense for Russian fans visiting England.
Each Supporters’ Trust/Group will be lobbying their relevant club to ensure this happens.