England fans will not be put off travelling to Brazil despite threat of protest, claims supporters' group

The Three Lions are expected to have a huge contingent of followers

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The Independent Football

England supporters will not be put off from travelling to Brazil for next summer's World Cup by the violent protests taking place in the country and its high crime levels.

Fans' spokesman Mark Perryman says England followers will have complete faith in the authorities in Brazil to ensure their safety.

The protests around the Confederations Cup in June have continued, with anti-Government demonstrators on the streets clashing regularly with police, on top of the usual safety fears in a country which the Foreign Office warns has high rates of crime and violence.

But Perryman told Press Association Sport: "There were riots on the streets of London 12 months before the London Olympics and there was no serious public disorder, in fact there was no public disorder during the Olympics.

"Let's get this into perspective. Since 2006 the newspapers have told us we're going to be raped, car-jacked and murdered whatever country we're playing in, whether it's South Africa or Brazil or Ukraine.

"We had a wonderful time in South Africa and Ukraine and I'm sure we'll have a wonderful time in Brazil. They've got some social problems, get over it.

"The World Cup is the most prestigious event in the world to host after the Olympics and Rio hosts the Olympics two years after the World Cup. Why on earth would they let things go wrong?

"They will do their absolute utmost to ensure fans have a safe and enjoyable and wonderful World Cup. We had exactly the game stories in the build up to World Cup 2010."

On its website, the Foreign Office says of Brazil: "Levels of crime and violence are high, particularly in major cities. You should be particularly vigilant before and during the festive and Carnival periods. Bank card fraud is common."

Perryman said fans were perfectly capable of taking "sensible precautions" to ensure their safety.

He said: "People aren't stupid. There are parts of London I wouldn't suggest a tourist walks down at the dead of night, and there are parts of Rio I'm sure it's a good idea not to walk down on your own in the dead of night. But that's part of travelling to different countries."

There are concerns too supporters could be priced out of travelling with possible sky-high air fares and rocketing room rates.

Perryman estimates a rough cost of around £5,000 for fans looking to stay for the whole tournament, including airfare. That will depend on where England play, which they will not find out until the draw on December 6.

He said: "Following England is not a cheap passion. We've known for five or six years the next World Cup is going to be in Brazil. Those fans who want to make it a footballing trip of a lifetime have been saving their pennies, their pounds, their hundreds of pounds and their thousands of pounds to make that trip."

Those wanting to travel by air from Rio de Janeiro to Sao Paulo - a distance of only just over 200 miles - where the opening match is scheduled are already facing return air fares as high as £720.

In June, British Airways' lead-in fares to Rio start from £897 return and to Sao Paulo from £963 return, including taxes, fees and charges.

And there have been reports of Brazilian hotels charging as much as £800 a night for the duration of the tournament. Even at best, rooms could be costing around £350 a night.

The Brazilian Hotel Industry Association has said: "During the Cup, the cost of everything will go up. That's the market."

But Perryman said: "My advice would be be patient, don't book your hotels now, don't book your hotels the day after the draw, wait until March or April. (Based on the experience of) every World Cup I've been to, the prices for internal flights, flights out there, hotels will all plummet round about March or April next year."

Thomson Sport, an official England fans tour operator, has already reported unprecedented levels of interest in its packages, which start at £6,995.

The company says more than 15,000 people registered their interest after England's qualification was secured and its website traffic increased by 400 per cent.

Thomson's 'Official Follow England' package guarantees travel and transfers to all cities, regardless of what the draw determines, and full refunds if tickets are not secured.

Managing director Tom Forshaw said: "When Steven Gerrard scored the second and decisive goal, we saw the website stats go through the roof and, consequently, we have seen a significant number of bookings and increase in number of fans registering interest.

"We have been planning our travel packages for the last four years to ensure fans wanting to follow England to the World Cup can enjoy the best football and the most amazing sights."

PA

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