British Soccer Fans Ready to Invade Russia

Diehards planning trip to Moscow to see all-England final
By Sam Gale Rosen,  Newser Staff
Posted Apr 30, 2008 9:48 PM CDT
British Soccer Fans Ready to Invade Russia
Manchester United's Rio Ferdinand, left, battles for the ball with Barcelona's Andres Iniesta during their Champions League semifinal second leg soccer match at Old Trafford stadium.   (AP Photo/Paul Thomas)

The May 21 Champions League soccer final in Moscow will feature two English powers—but cost might be the least of the worries for British fans hoping to make the trip. An overwhelmed Russian embassy is already farming out applications for visas, and demand was crashing Web sites even before Chelsea won today's semifinal to clinch a meeting with Manchester United for the title.

"The phones here are going mad," an embassy staffer tells the Guardian, which estimates fans could spend about $6,000 each to get into a seat at Luzhniki Stadium. Meanwhile, Moscow hotels have already run out of rooms. "We are advising people not to travel unless they have a hotel room, because there aren't any," says a British embassy spokesman. (More soccer stories.)

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