Euro 2016 is set to be an exciting tournament, marking the 15th European championships as well as the first time British nationals have seen 3 home nations participate in a generation – last qualifying collectively in 1958.
We caught up with The Foreign and Commonwealth Office in London to find out what fans need to prepare before heading to the games.
#BeOnTheBall is a campaign produced by the Foreign and Commonwealth Office ahead of Euro 2016, providing a host of assets to help fans plan and research their trip to France this summer.
We have been working closely with The Football Associations and Football Supporters’ Federation, as well as key transport hubs and services on the ground to collate together all the information fans need before they leave the UK.
Here are our top tips for before and during the championships:
Before You Go
- Selling tickets outside the stadiums is illegal in France, make sure you buy tickets from a credible source
- Don’t leave booking somewhere to stay until the last minute. Many fans have had this confirmed since the start of the year, so make sure you book before you leave the UK to avoid disappointment
- Purchase travel insurance that is appropriate for your trip, you should choose a package that covers you for all of the activities that you expect to take part in whilst you are away. You should also take an EHIC (European Health Insurance Card) with you, check expiration dates before travelling and be clear on what this covers you for
- This is your ticket to and from the games so look after it and keep it somewhere safe. Lost or stolen passports can be replaced with emergency travel documents, however this takes time, money and may risk missing ticketed events or even your journey home
Driving in France
- Hiring a car or taking your own abroad can be a great way to see the country but remember that France has different rules to the UK, including in-vehicle requirements. Check fcowidget.com for more information
How can we help?
Here’s a reminder of what the British Embassy can help with:
- Issue a replacement travel document (charges apply)
- Provide advice and information on transferring money
- Contact your friends and family
- Put you in touch with legal assistance if required
- Contact you within 24 hours of hospitalisation or imprisonment
- Pay your hotel, legal, medical or any other bills
- Get you out of jail
- Investigate a crime
- Give you legal advice
- Get you a ticket to the games
Stay up to date
For the latest travel advice and information, follow @FCOtravel on Twitter. You can also post any questions through this account 9am to 6pm, Monday to Friday. For more information on travel advice visit gov.uk/euro2016 or join the discussion at #BeOnTheBall
Q&A with John Sykes: Football Liaison Officer, Paris
Q: As Football Liaison Officer, I’m assuming it’s fair to say you have a strong interest in the game. What are you most looking forward to about Euro 2016?
A: I’m really looking forward to it. This will be the first time in a generation that we can see 3 home nations participating in the championships so I’m just looking forward to seeing such a strong representation from the UK, it should be a great tournament.
Q: How does the Euros fit into the wider role of the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO)?
A: The main priority for the FCO is the safety of British nationals and we work with organisations across the travel industry to help them plan and prepare, and hopefully avoid any issues whilst overseas. We are expecting several hundred thousand fans to make the journey to France for the championships so it’s a big focus for us, both in the UK and France.
Q: What does your role involve?
A: I’m based in Paris, so a large part of my role has been connecting with key stakeholders on the ground, local businesses and the venues hosting to help highlight any potential issues or concerns for British nationals and to get a feeling for what fans can expect.
Q: What have you found? Is there anything fans should be aware of?
A: Obviously following recent events the country and venues will be on high security alert so I’d recommend fans allow plenty of time to get to departure gates (however they may be travelling), as well as the stadiums themselves, to avoid missing the start of the games.
Q: What is the general feeling, do you sense the cities are excited to be hosting?
A: Absolutely. There’s a great footballing history in France and a very unique character to each of the hosting cities. There’s plenty to do for fans with a bit of time to explore the regions outside of the games.
Q: Any last minute tips for fans attending?
A: Make sure your accommodation is booked before you travel. Take photocopies of your key documents (passports, insurance etc.), be alert, allow sufficient time for travel between cities and most importantly, enjoy the games!
Q: And finally, you’ve been lucky enough to have a free tour of the stadiums - do you have a favourite?
A: They’re all great venues and will no doubt provide a brilliant arena for the competition but I’m particularly looking forward to ...