The 2018 FIFA World Cup kicks off today in Russia. It’s not exactly been a smooth sailing ride for FIFA, who have faced backlash for the decision to host the event in Russia but nonetheless, the World Cup is expected to draw big crowds both in stadiums and on television.
However, it seems that not every football fan in the UK will be flocking to the Volgograd Arena to see England’s first match. A new survey by PartyCasino has found that England fans aren’t quite feeling a trip to Russia over safety concerns and fear of various forms of discrimination.
Three-quarters (71%) of Brits think the World Cup is a dangerous environment this summer, whilst a quarter (26%) of fans wouldn’t go to football event due to racism and homophobia.
Other statistics in the survey, which was taken by 2,000 people across the country, found that almost half (42%) of men wouldn’t travel to Russia due to the threat of violence, whilst three-quarters (79%) of football fans don’t know anyone going to the World Cup.
David Winter, Marketing Manager at PartyCasino, said: “With England fans potentially facing problems in Russia this summer, it’s unfortunate that the players will be short of support this World Cup, but we know the fans will be cheering loudly from the comfort and security of home.”
It’s hoped that the results of the survey will help to further highlight Russia’s stance on violence, homophobia, and racism. A recent report from the Fare network and the SOVA Center found that there was an increase in the number of discriminatory chants inside stadiums in Russia.
Speaking of the Fare report, equality and inclusion organisation Kick It Out said they were “concerned at the latest research” and that “a lack of effective action from FIFA against discrimination in Russian football will leave BAME and LGBT supporters, players and staff vulnerable to abuse this summer.”
In a statement, the organisation also said:
Fare’s report provides clear evidence of the continued failings of the Russian Football Union to deal effectively with the issue and offers a reminder for FIFA that if necessary, it must be prepared to step in and take action to ensure the safety of everyone in attendance at the World Cup, regardless of background.
The Diversity Guide offers specific guidance and safety advice for the LGBT community and ethnic minorities travelling to Russia. The online resource combining travel advice and important information including historical context, Do’s and Don’ts and what to expect in each of the 11 host cities. The site is now online
A WhatsApp hotline has also been set up to help support visiting minorities in Russia with issues of discrimination to report or who require other urgent help. The line will be active from the start of the World Cup. The number is + 7 916 948 11 08.