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)
  • Spurs hold Southampton to climb to fifth

    Spurs hold Southampton to climb to fifth

    LONDON (Reuters) - Tottenham Hotspur fought back to draw 2-2 with Southampton and climb to fifth in the Premier League as the close battle for Europa League qualification intensified on Saturday. Graziano Pelle put Southampton ahead after 29 minutes … More »

    Reuters - 53 minutes ago
  • Watford take another step towards the Premier League

    Watford moved four points clear at the top of the English Championship with a gritty 2-0 win at Brighton & Hove Albion on Saturday. Troy Deeney's neat finish after 28 minutes, his 21st league goal of the season, and a stoppage-time strike by Matej … More »

    Reuters - 55 minutes ago
  • UK's Cameron scores own goal with pre-election football gaffe

    UK's Cameron scores own goal with pre-election football gaffe

    British Prime Minister David Cameron appeared to forget which football team he supported on Saturday, drawing ridicule on social media just days ahead of an election in a country known for its love of sport. Cameron, a descendant of King William IV … More »

    Reuters - 1 hour 2 minutes ago
  • Cameron scores own goal with pre-election football gaffe

    Cameron scores own goal with pre-election football gaffe

    Prime Minister David Cameron appeared to forget which football team he supported on Saturday, drawing ridicule on social media just days ahead of an election in a country known for its love of sport. Cameron, a descendant of King William IV and an … More »

    Reuters - 1 hour 5 minutes ago
  • Indonesian Super League fails to restart

    The Indonesian Super League remained suspended on Saturday despite plans by the local football association (PSSI) to restart the competition after a two week government suspension. The Youth and Sports ministry halted the league and suspended the … More »

    Reuters - 1 hour 47 minutes ago