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World Cup fans book hotel in wrong Russian city – 796 miles away

World Cup fans in 2010. (State Department)
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This article was originally published by Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty and is reprinted with permission.

A group of Swiss World Cup fans booked a hotel in the wrong Russian city, confusing Rostov-on-Don where Switzerland was playing a match with Brazil with Rostov Veliky, which is 1,281 kilometers [about 796 miles] to the north, officials said.

The fans called police when they could not find the hotel they had booked in Rostov-on-Don after their plane arrived in the large southern Russia city, local police said on June 18.

“Foreign tourists who have come to support Switzerland called us and said they were looking for a hotel,” police said in a statement.

“Our translator told them they were confused in the difficulties of translating Russian geographical names and that they had booked a hotel in Rostov Veliky,” police said.

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Rostov’s police press service told Russian media it has employed professional translators and volunteers who speak Spanish, English, Arabic, and French for the period of the World Cup.

It said that it helped the confused fans find accommodations in Rostov-on-Don.

Earlier, Russian and Ukrainian media reported that a group of Swiss fans traveled to the match in Rostov-on-Don by car through eastern Ukraine, where a four-year conflict between the government and Russia-backed separatists has killed more than 10,300 people.

The fans were apparently unaware that it was a war zone and said they were just following their GPS, media reported.

Rostov-on-Don sits just 60 kilometers from the front line in eastern Ukraine. Russian officials say they have instituted extensive security measures to make sure fans are safe.

The game between Switzerland and Brazil in Rostov-on-Don on June 17 ended in a 1-1 tie.

Based on reporting by AFP, Interfax, and TASS
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