Polish Border Guard prepares for World Cup traffic

Border checkpoint at Grzechotki Tomasz Waszczuk

The Polish Border Guard has appealed to fans travelling to football World Cup matches in the Russian exclave of Kaliningrad to allow plenty of time for their border crossing. The main border checkpoint for the tournament will be at Grzechotki.

The Polish Border Guard has appealed to fans travelling to football World Cup matches in the Russian exclave of Kaliningrad to allow plenty of time for their border crossing. The main border checkpoint for the tournament will be at Grzechotki.

The World Cup soccer tournament starts in Russia on June 14 and will last until July 15. Four matches will be held in Kaliningrad: Croatia-Nigeria on June 16, Serbia-Switzerland on June 22, Spain-Morocco on June 25 and England-Belgium on June 28.

Ryszard Chudy of the Tax Administration Office in Olsztyn told PAP that the Polish authorities are in constant contact with their Russian counterparts. According to Russian authorities, 91,000 tickets have been sold for matches at the Kaliningrad stadium.

Fans will travel to Kaliningrad not only by road but also by ship from Gdańsk (northern Poland) and by rail and air. Among them are expected to be several thousand Polish fans but also others from beyond the continent, including Americans and Chinese, Polish authorities report.

According to Border Guard estimates around 5,000 fans will cross the Polish-Russian road border for each match in the exclave. The highest numbers are expected for the England-Belgium match - 2,000 Belgian fans and 3,000 English.

Warmińsko-Mazurskie Border Guard spokeswoman Mirosława Aleksandrowicz pointed out that according to procedures determined by the Russians, fans travelling to matches should have a valid passport and a FAN-ID, or supporter's passport. Such travellers will be able to enter Russia without a visa from June 4 to July 15 but must leave the country by July 25. The FAN-ID document also entitles the holder to free public transport in Russia.

The Border Guard has appealed to those travelling to games to allow plenty of time for the border check. On match days, all the lanes will be entry lanes into Russia. Trucks will be directed to the crossing at Bezledy. "We're contacting hauliers and appealing for them to choose a different time to carry their goods," Chudy explained.

The Warmińsko-Mazurskie Border Guard reminded travellers that they can check the amount of traffic at crossings and their feed-roads online at www.granica.gov.pl.