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Russia Offers Fans Free Ground Travel for 2018 World Cup

Published: June 16, 2014 (Issue # 1815)




  • Photo: Marti / Flickr

RIO DE JANERO — Fans with game tickets will be offered free ground transportation between host cities at the 2018 World Cup in Russia.

"Free travel is a guarantee which we signed at the highest level during our bid," Alexey Sorokin, head of the organizing committee, said Saturday in Rio de Janeiro.

He said the free travel would be by train or bus. Though games will be played only in the western part of Russia, it still could mean some long trips.

Travel has been challenging and expensive at the last three major football tournaments, including this World Cup in Brazil, the 2012 European championship, and South Africa's 2010 World Cup.

"We'll come up with a very complicated system of using tickets to the game as tickets to a certain means of transportation," Sorokin said.

Russia will use 11 cities — and 12 stadium venues — ranging from St. Petersburg and Kaliningrad in the north to Sochi in the south and Yekaterinburg in the east.

Sorokin acknowledged he had never traveled vast distances on a bus or train in Russia. He estimated a train trip between Moscow and Sochi would be about 18 hours. He said several high-speed trains were currently operating in Russia, and said more might be ready in four years.

"We'll see how it will be implemented and what might be in time for the World Cup," he said.

Sorokin said Russian organizers proposed to FIFA that teams play their three group games in two adjoining clusters of venues, which would eliminate the kind of country-wide travel prevalent in Brazil. He said no times for starting matches had been proposed yet to FIFA.

Sorokin also said hotel prices would be controlled, which is something Brazil has been unable to manage.

"The Russian government has the power to manage hotel prices once it sees that the situation is getting out of control," Sorokin said. "We used that in Sochi and we will use that in the World Cup."

Sorokin deflected questions about Russia's annexation of Ukraine's Black Sea peninsula of Crimea. He said tourists would be "well informed and not afraid to come" to Russia.

"Tourists will come to Russia to see the World Cup matches," he said. "They will not come to discuss political developments, which by then will all be in the past."





 


ALL ABOUT TOWN

Sunday, Oct. 26


Zenit St. Petersburg returns home for the first time in nearly a month as they host Mordovia Saransk in a Russian Premier League game. Currently at the top of the league thanks to their undefeated start to the season, the northern club hopes to extend the gap between them and second-place CSKA Moscow and win the title for the first time in three years. Tickets are available at the stadium box office or on the club’s website.



Monday, Oct. 27


Today marks the end of the art exhibit “Neophobia” at the Erarta Museum. Artists Alexey Semichov and Andrei Kuzmin took a neo-modernist approach to represent the array of fears that are ever-present throughout our lives. Tickets are 200 rubles ($4.90).



Tuesday, Oct. 28


The Domina Prestige St. Petersburg hotel plays host to SPIBA’s Marketing and Communications Committee’s round table discussion on “Government Relations Practices in Russia” this morning. The discussion starts at 9:30 a.m. and participation must be confirmed by Oct. 24.



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