It comes around every four years and sends the world into a frenzy. Bets are made, beers are spilled and penalties are scored. Yes! It’s that time again. The World Cup 2018!
But as the globe gears up for the biggest football tournament around, this year, extra caution needs to be taken.
Being held in Russia, the press has published endless articles and videos about the dangers of football violence. In a country where organised football hooliganism is commonplace, the authorities are about to experience a deluge of football fans and thugs on Russian soil.
At Euro 2016, a huge brawl broke out between English and Russian fans, but this was no spontaneous fight. Police said it was “highly organised” and pre-planned, leaving dozens of innocent spectators seriously injured. Both sets of fans were blamed and the British authorities published pictures of more than 70 men involved in the mass brawls. So how can you avoid getting dragged into a dangerous situation?
Although President Putin has vowed to crack down on football violence and the Government has promised a zero-tolerance approach to any match-related fighting – it’s vital you keep your wits about you and know what to expect.
Mixing business with pleasure
As with any prestigious sporting event, many corporations take the opportunity to mix business with pleasure, by taking clients to matches. Millions of pounds worth of deals can be done off the back of such events – but how can you ensure you and your clients are safe in a such a potentially volatile environment?
Between 14th June and 15th July this year, thousands of Brits will be landing in Russia to watch the competition unfold. Some will be there just for fun, but others will be wining and dining guests to secure future deals. Either way, it’s important to keep safe and have your wits about you.
In a country where vodka flows freely and beer will undoubtedly be cheap, we at Conflict International have put together a quick guide to keeping safe and enjoying the beautiful game.
1 – Know your bearings
You’ll probably be staying in close proximity to a football stadium – or you might be saving a bit of money by staying slightly further away. No matter where you’re bedding down for the night however, the first tip is to make sure you know the address and location. Identify any landmarks nearby, so no matter how many pints you’ve consumed you’ll be able to stagger back home.
2 – Be aware of different attitudes
Unfortunately, much has been made about cultural attitudes towards the LGBT community and ethnic minorities. While being gay is not illegal in Russia, the attitude towards same-sex relationships is troubling and many reports of attacks have been made in the past. The Fare Network (formerly Football Against Racism in Europe) will be publishing advisory guides in the run up to the tournament to help people keep as safe as possible.
In respect of racism, it’s extremely sad, but it has been predicted that fans and football players alike will most likely be exposed to racist football chants during the tournament. While no one can predict if this will actually be the case, please be aware that racism pitch side could spill onto the streets. Avoid dangerous situations by staying with your group and not wandering off alone or going off with people you’ve just met.
3 – Stay street smart
Theft and pickpocketing is a problem at any major sporting event. So, always ensure your passport is safely tucked away – preferably in a safe at your hotel. Also, make copies of your documents so in the event of them being lost, you still have proof of identity.
Don’t carry large sums of cash or leave bags vulnerable to theft.
4 – Valid tickets
If you’re desperate to see a game but don’t have a ticket, buying them from ticket touts will probably be a huge waste of money. All tickets will have a Fan ID number which will be issued when you buy the ticket through authorised vendors. To get into a stadium, you’ll need your match ticket, Fan ID and passport. Security will be extremely tight so don’t take unnecessary risks.
How we can help
At Conflict International, our team is prepared for anything. We are experts in keeping you safe and can ensure that your trip to the World Cup is fun and hassle free. Whether you’re from a large company planning to entertain clients at the tournament or are a fan looking to enjoy your time without stress – we can help.
Our team offers travel risk management services to keep you and your group out of danger while overseas. Our discrete and bespoke service has been provided to celebrities, high net worth individuals as well as business people around the globe with great success. We also offer close protection and private security in hostile environments, so you can feel at ease in what could be a difficult situation.
Keeping safe and being aware of your surroundings is key, especially at a potentially volatile sporting event such as the World Cup and it’s a must if you are taking guests to enjoy an unforgettable experience. Contact us now to find out how we can help make your World Cup a safe and enjoyable experience.