The English Football Association will fly in the face of the UK media’s scaremongering about the World Cup in Russia by jetting out players’ families for the Three Lions’ quarter-final tie with Sweden.
Two planes carrying the family members of each member of England’s World Cup team are being chartered to the Russian city of Samara, with all the costs covered by the FA.
The recent success of Gareth Southgate’s men has prompted the move, and the arrangements flout commentary in the UK press which painted Russia as overtly dangerous. The news comes on the same day that Russian President Vladimir Putin praised visitors for “dismantling many stereotypes” about the country.
According to The Times, the families will be provided with tickets for England’s quarter-final match-up with Sweden. The specially-planned trip will see loved ones cheer on the Three Lions before being treated to a meal and afterwards flying back to London Stansted from Kurumoch International Airport.
The run-up to the World Cup saw widespread scaremongering about the safety of fans travelling to Russia. Just six days before the opening ceremony in Moscow’s Luzhniki Stadium, the UK Foreign Affairs Committee said it was concerned about the safety of UK fans outside of match times.
That’s despite several reassurances from high-ranking Russian officials that the government was making all the necessary arrangements to ensure the protection of football lovers.
The UK committee published report warned that around 10,000 travelling supporters faced risks of Russian hooligan violence, racist attacks and anti-British sentiment. The reality of the tournament has been different, however, with many football fans praising the host country.