Page last updated at 13:00 GMT, Tuesday, 20 May 2008 14:00 UK

Football fans heading to Moscow

Manchester United fans in Moscow
About 40,000 fans are expected to make the trip

Thousands of Manchester United and Chelsea fans are heading to Moscow for the Uefa Champions League final.

Extra flights are leaving Manchester, Heathrow and Stansted with about 100 charter flights expected at one of Moscow's main airports.

About 40,000 fans are thought to be making the journey.

Police are working to prevent known or potential troublemakers flying to the game, with UK police "spotters" stationed in Moscow.

The officers from the Met and Greater Manchester Police will be there to alert the authorities if banned supporters are seen in the city.

Greater Manchester Police said supporters would not be able to travel if they did not have a match ticket, their passport and a flight ticket.

Sports bars

A spokesman for Manchester airport said about 25,000 supporters were leaving on 88 flights.

Russia has waived normal visa requirements for a 72-hour period for English fans.

Russian supporters have been allotted only a limited number of tickets for the Luzhniki stadium final.


A new pitch has been laid at the stadium for the final

Many are expected to make advance bookings in sports bars to watch the match.

Police in Manchester said people thinking of travelling to Moscow to commit crime should think again.

"As with all operations like this, we are sending out a clear message to people intending to travel to commit violence to think again, " said Ch Insp Robert Tinsley from Manchester airport police station.

"Plain-clothes officers will be working to spot known troublemakers and uniformed officers will be providing a high-visibility presence at the airport, talking to fans and monitoring the situation."

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