Euro 2008 fans offered rail station sleepovers
30 May 2008
GENEVA – Soccer fans attending the European Championship in Switzerland are being invited to spend the night in railway stations.
Swiss rail operator CFF hopes its offer will help ease the problem of a national shortage of hotel rooms and camping site places during the June 7-29 tournament.
“As trains will run until late on our network to allow spectators to return home, we said that we could make a gesture of goodwill,” CFF spokesman Jean-Louis Scherz said.
Stations will stay open all night at three of the four Swiss host cities – Basel, Bern and Zurich.
Fans with match tickets are already promised free public transport on the day of the game and until noon the next day.
Those sleeping at a station, however, will have to make do with a bench on the platform or a seat in the waiting room. They will be charged for using rest room facilities.
“We will be much more tolerant with our customers during the Euros,” said Martin Graf, of security firm Securitrans. “But there will be limits.”
Christophe Mumenthaler, a spokesman for the Bern tourism office, told Le Matin newspaper that all accommodation in the capital city is booked. The Swiss capital will host three games with the Netherlands from 9 – 17 June.
Only the Geneva station will close at night during the tournament, which is co-hosted with Austria.
The city hosts three games between 7 – 15 June leaving fans to compete for scarce hotel rooms with delegates attending the United Nations’ International Labour Conference.
Organisers of Geneva’s soccer-themed entertainment will offer fans an alternative by opening a night club until 5 a.m. at the city’s ice rink throughout the tournament.
[AP / Expatica]