What's buzzing:

2018 Cup offers ticketed fans free ground travel

AP - Sports
2018 Cup offers ticketed fans free ground travel
.

View gallery

RIO DE JANEIRO (AP) -- 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 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 Kaliningrad and St. Petersburg 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 on 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.

He said hotel prices would be controlled, which is a problem Brazil has failed to control.

''The government of Russia has the power to interfere with hotel prices once it sees that the situation is getting out of control,'' Sorokin said. ''We used that in Sochi (Winter Olympics), 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 matches of the World Cup,'' he said. ''They will not come to discuss political developments, which by then will be all in the past.''

---

Stephen Wade on Twitter: https://twitter.com/StephenWadeAP

View Comments (0)
  • By staying the course, Liverpool put itself back on course in the Premiership

    By staying the course, Liverpool put itself back on course in the Premiership

    The news this week that the English soccer side had turned a profit for the first time in seven years comes at the same time EPL observers have seen a turnaround in the performance on the pitch. … More »

    Yahoo Sports - 40 minutes ago
  • Serie A clubs agree to help Parma finish the season

    Serie A clubs have agreed a deal that will allow bottom club Parma, beset by financial problems, to complete the season, the league said after a meeting on Friday. Parma's players have not been paid all season and their last two Serie A matches … More »

    Reuters - 1 hour 1 minute ago
  • Galaxy sign Finnish MF Vayrynen

    CARSON, Calif. (AP) -- The LA Galaxy have signed Finnish midfielder Mika Vayrynen. … More »

    AP - Sports - 1 hour 22 minutes ago
  • Morgan's goal sparks 3-0 US win over Switzerland in Portugal

    Alex Morgan redirected Lauren Holiday's free kick for a goal some nine minutes into the second half and the U.S. women's national team went on to defeat Switzerland 3-0 on Friday in group play at the Algarve Cup. Amy Rodriguez added a goal in the … More »

    AP - Sports - 1 hour 25 minutes ago
  • Toronto FC-Whitecaps FC Preview

    The question now for Toronto FC may not be whether the ninth-year franchise can gain its first playoff berth but rather can it win the MLS Cup with the additions of Sebastian Giovinco and Jozy Altidore. The Vancouver Whitecaps have made the … More »

    AP - Sports - 1 hour 29 minutes ago