Have visa, will travel

My cable TV has been out of action for the past five months, despite the cable company sending people round on no less than five occasions to fix it.  Last time they sent a trio of gormless looking men around, one of whom carried all his necessary tools in a carrier bag, and another who stunk to high heaven.  Sure enough, they left without managing to fix the problem.  I also have a problem with receiving normal terrestrial TV, in that the picture is always terrible no matter how many gormless, smelly men turn up to do something about it.

So as it was I missed the big match last night, and Paul Scholes’ wondergoal which has put Manchester United into the Champions League final against either Liverpool or Chelsea.  Now Man Utd’s win has set up an all-English final, which will be held in Moscow on May 21st.  I do not know what the ticket allocations are, but I assume there is a set number for each team’s supporters and probably a portion which can be bought locally.  Holding the final in Moscow was always going to present serious visa problems for travelling fans, but now it looks as though the problem will be doubled.  Rather than having the fans travelling from two countries and applying through two embassies for their visas, now the Russian embassy in London is going to have to process upwards of 40,000 visas in 3 weeks.  I have no idea how they are going to manage this, short of either waiving the requirements for anyone holding a ticket, or rapidly bringing in extra staff who can cope with the workload.  I can’t see them doing either of these.

Which makes me wonder if there are going to be several thousand very disappointed English football fans left holding useless tickets come 21st May.  Tickets are on sale on the internet now, for a whopping £1,400 and upwards.  I will be monitoring this situation very closely, because I am a Man Utd fan without a ticket, but in possession of a visa and with a place to stay in Moscow.  These two might prove to be harder to get than a ticket after a couple of weeks, and I’m hoping maybe I can pick up a spare one somewhere along the way.

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8 Responses to Have visa, will travel

  1. kaahl says:

    “…or rapidly bringing in extra staff who can cope with the workload.”

    That is almost as funny as the quotables from 30 Rock this week, which you may or may not be missing giving the gormlessness of your tv repair dude….

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  3. In the times today it said that the Russian consulate was going to contract out the issuing of the visas and add an extra 20 quid to the cost!

    Its going to be a major exercise getting from Sheremeteovo airport to the Centre/stadium! there’s only one bus an hour or something that connects to the metro or minibuses. Or there’s a sting for a 50 quid taxi (how do you avoid paying the foreigner’s inflated fee, Tim?!). And also hotels seem to be quite expensive.

  4. Tim Newman says:

    In the times today it said that the Russian consulate was going to contract out the issuing of the visas and add an extra 20 quid to the cost!

    They’re going to have to get a wriggle on, they’ve only got 3 weeks!

    The best bet for any travelling fan is to fly into Domodedovo and get the hihg-speed train into the centre of town, then take the metro from there. I can’t imagine anything worse than doing this trip via Sheremetovo.

    You can avoid the foreigner’s inflated fee by moving beyond the first row of rip-off merchants and seeking out the independent drivers, who are normally older men and not dressed like pimps unlike the official taxi drivers. If you speak some Russian, you can normally get the trip for the same as a Russian would pay.

  5. varske says:

    I’ve heard of some people who either can’t get a flight direct to Moscow now or can’t afford it, who think it is feasible to fly Ryanair to Kaunas or Riga and somehow bus it to Moscow. Some rude awakenings for them on the way.

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