September 29, 2015

MOSCOW (AP) Russia's Sports Minister Vitaly Mutko says a lack of hotel accommodation for teams and officials is a major problem facing 2018 World Cup organizers.

Mutko says that ''the most severe problem is related to accommodating guests of the World Cup, with the hotels,'' in comments reported by Russian agency Tass.

He added that four of the 11 host cities - Volgograd, Rostov-on-Don, Saransk and Nizhny Novgorod - are behind on plans to increase hotel accommodation in time for the tournament.

The issue concerns hotels for players, sponsors and FIFA officials, according to Mutko, but Russia's readiness to house fans has also been called into question. In December, Russia's Federal Tourism Agency said only five of the 11 cities so far had enough accommodation for supporters.

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