England support slumps as Russia ticket sales trail previous tournaments
Fifa said 34,000 tickets have been allocated to English fans so far for the tournament in Russia, down from 58,690 in Brazil four years ago.
England’s famous travelling support will be fewer in number than at the last World Cup in Brazil, with ticket sales significantly down on 2014.
With two weeks to go to the opening game, Fifa said 34,000 tickets have been allocated to English fans so far for the tournament in Russia, although many will have tickets for more than one game.
According to the governing body, 58,690 tickets were allocated to fans from England for the World Cup in Brazil in 2014.
Official figures cited in a study by Johannes Gutenberg University in Mainz, Germany, suggest numbers are also down on British fans who bought tickets for South Africa 2010 – around 72,000 – and Germany 2006 – around 83,000.
A Fifa spokesman said more than two million tickets had been sold overall, with the most allocated to Russian fans – 872,578.
With tickets on sale right up until the final on July 15, the figures are likely to change, the spokesman added.
England fans’ appetite for tickets ranks 10th among other nations outside Russia, with the USA (86,710), Brazil (71,787) and Colombia (64,231) making up the top three.
Fans with tickets for the tournament must been issued with a Fan ID by Russian authorities.
The document acts as a visa, allowing entry into the country, and is also required to be shown with the ticket to get into the stadium and when getting free public transport on match days.
The Russian Ministry of Telecom and Mass Communications said 13,120 Britons had been issued with a Fan ID so far, with 6,600 registering in London.
Supporters from China (39,000), USA (38,600) and Mexico (32,500) lead the way in obtaining Fan IDs.
The FA said members of its official England Supporters Travel Club were among the thousands who have bought tickets for the World Cup.
Some 1,510 have bought tickets for the Three Lions’ opener again Tunisia in Volgograd on June 18, while at least 1,872 will travel to Nizhny Novgorod for the game against World Cup debutants Panama on June 24.
Only one of England’s group games – for which the association’s allocation shifts significantly depending on the venue – was oversubscribed, with 2,659 tickets sold through the FA for the potential Group G decider against Belgium in Kaliningrad on June 28.
Fans also bought tickets in the hope England will make it to the knockout rounds, including 1,415 for the round of 16, 1,608 for the quarter final, 2,180 for the semi-final and 3,553 for the final in Moscow on July 15.
If England fail to qualify for the later rounds, fans will be able to get their money back.
A Fifa spokesman said: “Generally speaking we don’t see the point in drawing ticketing comparisons between different editions of the Fifa World Cup as we are talking about different markets, inventories, sales processes and stadium capacities.”
Top 10 countries by ticket sales (plus England):
1. Russia (872,578)
2. USA (86,710)
3. Brazil (71,787)
4. Colombia (64,231)
5. Germany (60,457)
6. Mexico (58,870)
7. Argentina (52,999)
8. Peru (42,645)
9. China (39,884)
10. Australia (36,170)
11. England (34,000)
Top nine countries by Fan ID (plus Britain):
1. Russia 468,000
2. China 39,000
3. USA 38,600
4. Mexico 32,500
5. Argentina 26,000
6. Colombia 22,501
7. Germany 21,300
8. Brazil 20,500
9. Peru 20,200
12. Britain (13,120)
(Source: Russian Ministry of Telecom and Mass Communication)