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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Confusion Surrounds Russia-Italy Ticket Sale

With only a week left before Russia hosts Italy in the World Cup play-off, the average soccer fan has little idea of when and where he can get tickets for the game.


The first leg match, scheduled for Oct. 29, will be played at the old Dynamo stadium instead of the original site -- the newly renovated 82,000-seat Luzhniki Olympic stadium.


"Fans can start buying tickets starting this Sunday," said a Dynamo spokesman on Tuesday. "Although we have no information about the ticket prices because we're just renting our stadium to the Russian Football Union, which is responsible for the match."


The spokesman, who wouldn't give his name, also said Dynamo doesn't have any ticket information hotline. The only person who will answer calls, he added, is the vakhtyor, or caretaker.


A phone call to the RFU on Tuesday also brought little help.


"The only person here who could tell you the ticket prices is RFU's First Vice President Alexander Tukmanov, who deals with finances," said RFU's Vice President Nikita Simonyan, who pushed the ball back into Dynamo's court, adding: "The stadium should give you all the information because that's where the game will be played."


A secretary at Tukmanov's office said "the boss went to Italy to check on possible hotel sites for the return match and won't be back till next Monday."


Simonyan conceded that RFU could have made a lot more money if the Russia-Italy clash were held at Luzhniki.


"Obviously we could have had a full capacity -- an over 80,000 crowd at Luzhniki for Italy's match," he said.


Luzhniki, which spent nearly $200 million in revamping the stadium, unfortunately failed to pay as much attention to the pitch, which was cut up disastrously during heavy rain in Russia's last World Cup qualifier against Bulgaria.


"It's like building a brand new theater with a crooked stage -- you have nothing else but to move the performance to another place," Simonyan said.


A source close to Russia's political circles said that well-known soccer fan Moscow Mayor Yury Luzhkov gave Luzhniki director Vladimir Aleshin a severe dressing down for the embarrassing switch.