WORCESTER Warriors’ trip to Russia next week has been a “logistical nightmare” and will cost almost three times as much as other European Challenge Cup matches.

Warriors’ players, officials and staff have had their fingerprints tested and passports scrutinised by Russian officials who have visited Sixways.

High performance director Nick Johnston says Warriors’ chief executive Jim O’Toole has been in discussions over red-tape and costs with bosses at European Professional Club Rugby (EPRC).

Warriors open their European Challenge Cup pool three campaign against Russian side Enisei-STM in Moscow on October 15.

Warriors had originally considered chartering a plane for players and fans for their first trip to Russia but that idea has long been abandoned.

Johnston said: “Moscow has been a challenge but actually getting into Russia has been the challenge to be brutally frank.

“It has caused the administration side of the club a great deal of frustration.

“We only got an invitation three weeks ago to get our visas.

“We have been scratching our heads a little bit on how it got to this.

“But Charlotte (Treverton-Jones) and Alex (Cox) have done an excellent job getting all the logistics in place.

“If you put the financial context into it – an average trip in Europe costs us £18,000.

“This is more than £50,000 already and there’s £9,000 in visa costs that we, as an organisation, have to fund.

“There’s no financial support for that from the organisers of the cup.

“It’s something we have talked to the organisers about at the highest leve.

“To be fair to EPRC, they are looking at it and have listened to us. I don’t think they realised how logistically difficult it was just to get there so I think they have learned from it.”

Enisei-STM are one of the two powerful Krasnoyarsk clubs, the other being their cross-town rivals Krasny Yar Krasnoyarsk.

They compete in the Professional Rugby League, the premier rugby championship of Russia.

Last season, Enisei-STM were the first team in Russia to compete in a major European club competition and claimed the scalp of Aviva Premiership rivals Newcastle Falcons.

Johnston said: “We are looking forward to it but it has been a logistical nightmare just to get it organised and get some clarity.

“It’s a game of rugby in a different country which is a new cultural experience. There’s not been many people who can say they’ve played rugby in Moscow is there?

“We are quite pleased with the match being in Moscow because it’s the most straightforward place to get to.

“We are flying on a scheduled flight out of Heathrow next Thursday.”

Pro-12 outfit Newport Gwent Dragons are also in Warriors’ pool for the competition and Worcester have had “quite a lot of dialogue” with the Welsh club over the Russian trip.

“We respect the Russian authorities and regulations and their immigration policy – that’s not an issue,” said Johnston.

“We should be encouraging these emerging teams to come in and expand the competition but it’s got to be done with a little investigating.

“Officials came and did bio metric testing at the club and that was fool-proof.

“You have to submit your visa and every stamp is recorded.

“It was laborious and it’s a little bit different compared to playing in France and Italy."