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Thursday, 17 October 2013

Road to the World Cup: England fans crash travel websites in rush for Rio 2014

Road to the World Cup: England fans crash travel websites in rush for Rio 2014

After Roy Hodgson’s boys secured their place in the finals, 100,000 Three Lions supporters swamped the Fifa website to be in the ballot for tickets
Samba like it hot: England fans have swamped travel sites in a bid to get to Brazil for the 2014 World Cup
Samba like it hot: England fans have swamped travel sites in a bid to get to Brazil for the 2014 World Cup
Reuters
Jubilant England fans crashed websites yesterday as they searched for trips to Brazil’s World Cup – but they’ll need deep pockets as the cost of flights, hotels and travel around the vast nation is soaring.
Just minutes after Roy Hodgson’s boys secured their place in the finals on Tuesday with a win over Poland, 100,000 Three Lions supporters swamped the Fifa website to be in the ballot for tickets.
But with matches in the group stages played all across Brazil – which at 3.3 million square miles makes it the world’s fifth largest country – fans may find themselves having to travel ­thousands of miles between venues, making it the most expensive tournament ever.
Supporters could be forking out £10,000 just to see the qualifying rounds, three matches.
Getting there in the first place is going to hit fans in the pocket. British Airways is currently selling flights from London to Sao Paulo at £963 and £897 for a trip to Rio.
Twitter was last night buzzing with excitement about the finals next June, but there were also words of warning over the horrendous costs.
One fan, @gaviganconnor, posted: “Yeahhhhhh by the way tickets are up to £632 plus flights and hotel will be a bomb… good luck!”
Accommodation costs, usually cheap in Brazil, are going through the roof. Three-star hotels will be £350 a night. A hostel in Ipanema is raising its nightly rate of £70, to £450.
Basic packages for the group games will cost around £7,000 from the UK – for flights and hotels only and no tickets.
Following Wayne Rooney and his team-mates across Brazil is going to a tricky and costly affair – because of poor roads and no train services to some venues planes may be the only option.
But internal flights could rise to 10 times their normal rate. Domestic airlines normally charge around £180 for a one-way trip from Rio to Salvador or £123 from Rio to Sao Paulo.
But Brazil travel agent Renata Graca Couto warned: “It will be around £750 during the group games.”
If England are drawn in Group A, their first match would be in Sao Paulo – 269 miles from the team base in Rio. But then comes a 1,700-mile trip to the Amazon city of Manaus, for the second.
With no trains going there, it would take two days by car or bus plus another four days on a boat. Typically, there will be three days between games, so the only choice is to fly.
England’s third game would be in Recife - another 1,763 miles away.
The Football Supporters’ Federation admitted following the team was “going to be a challenge”.
But chief executive Kevin Miles said: “There will be a ­significant number of fans who are prepared for that challenge.
“There were lots of fans who went to June’s friendly against Brazil in Rio who are desperate to go back.
“They are very excited about the prospect and being given the chance to repeat that ­experience. The big question then is if they can afford it.”
A cheaper option for getting around is on intercity buses.
Cities and large towns are served by a variety of private companies and prices can be good value with Rio-Sao Paulo starting at around £14 one way.
Journeys often involve overnight travel because of the vast distances involved.
British Airways hope to increase the number of flights to Brazil during the ­tournament.
A spokesman said: “We are expecting our flights to Rio and Sao Paulo to be very busy and we are looking at where we may be able to increase the number of seats for fans.”
Fifa confirmed demand for match tickets is “greatly exceeding supply”.
Around three million will be ­available – ranging from £56 to £300. The body had claimed tickets in Brazil would be the “cheapest ever”.
At least 400,000 will be reserved for residents of Brazil, with 50,000 set aside for construction workers involved in building and upgrading the football grounds.
Brazil’s ­government is investing £10billion on facilities for the tournament, and the Rio 2016 Olympics.
There are 109 new hotels, resorts and hostels being built in the 12 host cities.
David Cameron yesterday urged Scotland, Wales and Ireland fans to support England during the World Cup.
Quickly realising there was little chance of that happening, he said: “You can always dream and hope.”

Check out all the latest News, Sport & Celeb gossip at Mirror.co.uk http://www.mirror.co.uk/news/uk-news/road-world-cup-england-fans-2461008#ixzz2hxcDhNY1

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