England unhappy with Fifa's choice of hotel

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The Independent Online

Concerns that the England players might endure a sleepless night ahead of today's match against Trinidad & Tobago were raised yesterday as the team checked into a hotel in the noisiest part of town.

The Football Association admitted that the five-star Meridien Grand allocated to them by the organisers was "not ideal" as it was sandwiched between the central railway station and bars where thousands of fans drink outside until late at night.

The FA, which has booked two floors of the hotel, have requested the quietest rooms and the players will stay in individual rooms. The hotel has been used at the World Cup by Mexico, who beat Iran in the Bavarian city on Sunday.

Yesterday afternoon it was easy to understand the FA's concerns. Hundreds of fans were drinking outside Finnegan's Irish bar and as many autograph hunters were outside the hotel. A helicopter clattered overhead and there was further noise from four lanes of traffic immediately outside the hotel, as well as from several trams and the train station just 100 yards away.

Meanwhile their Caribbean opponents checked into the four-star Hilton near the Frankenstadion, the second Nuremberg hotel approved by Fifa, the game's world governing body, which is surrounded by woodland and is a rural retreat relative to England's accommodation.

The FA took great pains in choosing Baden-Baden as the base during the tournament. The Schlosshotel Bühlerhöhe, a luxury hotel on a hill on the edge of the Black Forest, was chosen for its comfort, quiet and security. But, as with every other team, they had no choice in their hotel at the host venue, where teams have to check in the day before kick-off.

"We have no choice in the hotel, which is set in advance" an FA spokesman said. "We have not complained to Fifa. But it is not ideally placed because it is so close to the city centre and the noise of the traffic. We have made sure that we have the quietest rooms." As one of the smallest of the 12 host cities, Nuremberg has a shortage of top-of-the-range business hotels.

The choice of hotel is not England's first gripe since arriving Germany. They complained after the Paraguay game on Saturday, played in intense heat, that the Mexican referee, Marco Rodriguez, had not allowed them enough time to drink water during the game. Fifa has since relaxed the rules regarding water breaks.

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Grand Meridien

The Bavarian city's premier hotel stands out in the heart of the Old Town with its imposing façade. It is popular with well-heeled visitors. Repaired after the war, it was used as headquarters for the US occupying forces. Since then its guests have included The Beatles, Bob Dylan and Robbie Williams. Prices start at £250 per night.

The Hilton

In a leafy district on the edge of town, the recently built Hilton is more utilitarian with a striking glass and steel atrium. With four stars compared to the Grand's five, it is popular with business executives visiting the vast exhibition centre or the global headquarters of Grundig and Siemens nearby. Rooms start at £150 per night.

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