Gameday Guide: VEB Arena, CSKA Moscow

VEB Arena

Opened: 2016 | Tenant(s): CSKA Moscow | Capacity: 30,000

History

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Also known as Arena CSKA, VEB Arena is Moscow’s newest stadium. Opened in 2016, it was purpose-built to house football team CSKA Moscow, who had been playing the majority of their matches at Arena Khimki, shared with CSKA Moscow, and Luzhniki Stadium where the Russian national team contest home games.

Prior to 2000, Grigory Fedtov Stadium which was demolished in 2007 to make way for the new ground, was CSKA’s home. They moved there in 1961 from Light-Athletic Football Complex CSKA, as the latter held less than 5,000 spectators and was deemed unsuitable for a club of CSKA’s stature.

Construction on VEB Arena commenced in 2007 and it took nine years to build the venue with several pauses along the way. In addition to being a UEFA Category 4 Stadium, an integral part of VEB Arena’s appearance is a 142-metre tall skyscraper in one corner, resembling the Europa League trophy as a nod to CSKA’s triumph in the 2005 UEFA Cup – the first European trophy won by a Russian club.

Who are CSKA Moscow?

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PFC CSKA Moscow are one of five major football clubs in Moscow and are the oldest one is Russia. Part of the wider CSKA Moscow sports club, which sports branches such as ice hockey and basketball, they are one of the most successful Russian football teams winning the Soviet Top League and Russian Premier League titles a combined 13 times, as well as being only one of two teams to win a major continental competition alongside Zenit Saint Petersburg.

CSKA stands for Centralnyi Sportivnyi Klub Armyi, or Central Sports Club of the Army in English, as it was founded as a team for the Soviet Armed Forces and remained this way throughout the communist era. CSKA Moscow is now a professional club and no longer associated with the Russian military, although the Russian Ministry of Defence is a shareholder.

Getting to Moscow

  Outside one of the terminals at Domodedovo International Airport.

Outside one of the terminals at Domodedovo International Airport.

Moscow is home to four airports, and its proximity to land borders makes it a place best reachable by air if you happen to be travelling from another country. Domodedovo, Sheremetyevo, Vnukovo and Zhukovsky connect the Russian capital with hundreds of destinations worldwide, making Moscow a highly accessible city.

  The Aeroexpress train that connects Moscow city centre with its three major airports.

The Aeroexpress train that connects Moscow city centre with its three major airports.

The airports, with the exception of Zhukovsky, are all served by Aeroexpress trains, which transport passengers to and from the airport from Moscow City Centre. Tickets for the big and spacious carriages are available on arrival, but are cheaper if booked in advance online. Shuttle bus and express train services also run to Zhukovsky International Airport from various points throughout Moscow.

To enter Russia you will need a visa. To find out how to get a Russian tourist visa, click here.

Getting to VEB Arena

  The Moscow Metro is the best way to get to VEB Arena.

The Moscow Metro is the best way to get to VEB Arena.

VEB Arena is well served by a number of stations on the Moscow Metro network. Visitors should look to take either line 2 to Sokol, 7 to Polezhayevskaya, 11 to Khoroshyobskaya or CSKA or 14 to Zorge – all of which are a short walk to the venue.

  Zorge is on the Moscow Central Circle line - line 14.

Zorge is on the Moscow Central Circle line - line 14.

  The alleyway between VEB Arena and Zorge.

The alleyway between VEB Arena and Zorge.

Due to traffic congestion and large crowds, it isn’t advised to take buses or taxis to the game. But if you don’t want to walk or get the Metro, then use Uber to make sure you don’t get ripped and for convenience.

Tours and merchandise

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Currently, CSKA Moscow do not offer tours of VEB Arena. There are two CSKA stores in central Moscow which sell a fantastic range of club merchandise and can be found on Zemlyanoy Val and START Shopping Centre on Leningradsky Prospekt, as well one at the stadium itself. CSKA also have an online store which ships worldwide.

Matchday Experience

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The more hardcore fans sit behind the goal in the Stand A, and are known for their energy, chanting and taking their shirts off regardless of weather conditions. Vocal support can also be found at the opposite end of the stadium in the lower tier of Stand S, with fans regularly bringing with them decorative banners and flags celebrating the club and individual players. Each of the four stands are named after the club – C, S, K and A.

Although they are one of the country’s most prominent teams, CSKA don’t have attendance figures as high as rivals Spartak Moscow, and rarely fill their 30,000-capacity arena. This means that unless you’re there to watch a local derby or other high-profile game, then you will probably be sharing the stadium with lots of empty seats. Still, it’s a nice place to watch a game of football

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As one of the country’s newest venues, VEB Arena has plenty of modern amenities for fans to enjoy. In addition to the club shop, various stalls are dotted around the vicinity selling CSKA Merchandise. Refreshments are available from food vendors and at kiosks in the concourse, are reasonably priced and are lightyears ahead of most eastern European stadia when it comes to food and drink. Alcohol isn’t served on site, although non-alcoholic beer is available.

Tickets

Tickets are readily available from the CSKA Moscow shops in the city. Simply go in and ask for a ticket and you will be able to purchase one in person without the need for showing identification or signing up for any sort of fan card. CSKA almost never sell out games, and ticket prices are generally low compared to footballing nations in western Europe.

It is not possible to purchase tickets online without a Russian phone number, as an SMS message is sent as a purpose of verification when signing up for an account. If you have access to a Russian phone number, then visit this website for tickets.

Safety

CSKA Moscow games are well policed, and playing at a new facility also helps to minimise crime levels. Despite reported troubles between Russian hooligans and foreign football fans at previous events, it is highly unlikely that anything similar will happen when mixing with home fans at the game. Police and CSKA stewards are generally helpful, but their assistance may be limited with the language barrier.

Thorough searches are conducted by security officials at the arena entrances with males and females separated into different queues for the purpose of same-sex inspections. Make sure to get to VEB Arena in plenty of time as this system can cause delays.

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