England’s World Cup training base, in Zelenogorsk near St. Petersburg, will be surrounded by a 6-meter (24ft) fence at the request of the team’s management, who have asked for protection from prying eyes.
The Three Lions will be based in Repino for the tournament, a small town 40km (25 miles) north of St. Petersburg, and will have a training center in nearby Zelenogorsk, which is a 15-minute drive from Repino.
Despite Zelenogorsk being a quiet town with a population of around 15,000, England bosses requested that a high wall be built around their training pitch to ensure no one can spy on their training sessions. Local official Pavel Belov said that the fence will be installed before the World Cup, which kicks off in Moscow next Thursday.
“Yes, we will build the fence,”Belov told TASS, adding that the request was so far unique to the England team among the 32 nations at Russia 2018.
Although there are no mandatory requirements stipulated by FIFA which oblige the organizers to put fences around training bases, Russian officials decided to meet England’s request. The team’s decision to cover up their training center was apparently driven by a wish to keep Gareth Southgate’s key tactics and team selections under wraps.
Along with England, both Costa Rica and South Korea will be based in St. Petersburg, which will host seven World Cup matches including three knockout stage games. England begin their campaign against Tunisia in Volgograd on June 18, before facing Panama in Nizhny Novgorod on June 24 and Belgium in Kaliningrad on June 28.