Some of the away days across Russia are almost too great to comprehend.
Any travelling supporters complaining about a long distance away day should spare a thought for the fans of Spartak Moscow who faced a potential 7-day one-way trip for today’s Russian Cup tie against SKA-Khabarovsk.
The distance between the Russian capital and the Siberian city in the far west of the country, is 6147km (3820 miles), but that is as the crow flies, and if you’re in a car and put the details into Google Maps, you can add a few more kilometres onto your journey – 2000km, to be precise. To make that drive, the total distance travelled would be 8,381.6 km, which Google estimates will take 102 hours. Throw in the 7 hour time difference and you’d have been advised to have set off eight days ago to be sure of making today’s kick-off.
Include the return journey and you’re looking at more than two weeks travelling. All to see your side lose, as SKA-Khabarovsk prevailed earlier today courtesy of a second half strike from Vladislav Nikiforov.
This is not even the longest possible away trip in Russia: two years ago in the second tier Football National League, there was 10,000km away day between Baltika Kaliningrad and FC Sakhalin. Mercifully for fans and players of both teams, FC Sakhalin were relegated after just one season.
While some of the away trips travelled in Russia are vast, they are not the furthest travelled when it comes European football.
As the BBC reports today, Brittany-based side Pontivy made a 19,200-mile round trip in 2015 to face Tahitian side AS Pirae in the French Cup. They won 6-5, which at least made the journey worthwhile. Moreover, this was a journey that could not be made by car, so any travelling fan will have enjoyed the relative luxury of flying to the away game. And, as away trips go, there are surely worse places to visit than Tahiti.