Fans given two routes for tickets to summer in Asia

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The Independent Football

England supporters hoping to follow their team to South Korea and Japan next year have two main routes to obtaining tickets.

England supporters hoping to follow their team to South Korea and Japan next year have two main routes to obtaining tickets.

For those seeking to secure tickets for, initially, all of England's group matches, the only way to access the Football Association's quota is to join its official supporters' club, englandfans, which was established in July.

The FA will not be selling tickets for England away matches to anyone other than englandfans members, who will be subject to a vetting process to prevent hooligan elements gaining access.

The cost of joining is £20 per annum for adults, and £10 for those under 16. Postal applications can be made to: englandfans, 25 Soho Square, London W1D 4FR, or through a helpline, 0870 160 1631. The relevant website is: www.the-fa.org.

Alternatively, tickets can be applied for through the official website: www.fifa-tickets.com, or by e-mail, to sales@fifa-tickets.com, or by ringing 0870 1242 002. Postal applications can be made to 2002 Fifa World Cup Ticketing Bureau, PO Box 2002, Cheadle Hulme, Cheshire, SK8 7RR.

The process of applying for tickets through Fifa will take place in three stages. Until 15 November, applications will be treated on a first-come, first-served basis, although foreign fans will be given priority over Japanese and South Korean supporters.

Fifa explain this by saying that in an open worldwide lottery, Japanese and South Koreans would apply in such massive numbers that they would win many of the tickets and the event would lose much of its international flavour. So they will only get more tickets if they are not all taken up by foreign fans.

From 16 November 2001 until 15 January 2002 there will be a random selection of applications, and ticket applications for individual games can be accepted. Full details have yet to be released of the final sales phase after 1 February 2002.

Official travel packages for England supporters will be offered through three companies – Air Tracks (01895 810810), Travel Management (01926 313112) and BAC Sports Travel (020 7456 7100).

No packages will be finalised, however, until after the World Cup draw has been made on 1 December.

A spokesman for Travel Management said that the official policy would be to place supporters in hotels of three stars or better, although that may be overly ambitious given reports coming out of Korea that a shortage of hotel beds will mean fans having to pay modest fees to be accommodated by "host families".

The spokesman added that a number of England fans who had made enquiries were planning on setting aside £5,000 for the whole trip.

As a guide to prices, British Airways are offering an Apex return to Tokyo at £739, and KLM have fares to Korea from £500. Car hire in both Japan and Korea is not being advised, due to the volume of traffic and the complicated road systems. Japan does, however, have a highly efficient rail system.

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