Russian authorities fine hotels for World Cup price-gouging

The pitch is illuminated to enhance grass growth at the soccer stadium 'Saint Petersburg' on Krestovsky Island which will host some 2018 World Cup matches, in St.Petersburg, Russia, Tuesday, Jan. 30, 2018. Delegation from FIFA and the 2018 FIFA World Cup Russia Local Organising Committee (LOC) are making the seventh operational planning tour of the Russian stadiums which will host 2018 FIFA World Cup. (Dmitri Lovetsky/AP)

MOSCOW — Russian authorities in two cities say they have issued hundreds of fines after finding many hotels were illegally hiking prices for the World Cup.

The Rospotrebnadzor consumer regulator says one Moscow hotel raised prices up to 570 per cent above what is allowed by a government decree designed to prevent excessive profiteering during the tournament.

The regulator’s Moscow branch says it issued fines totalling 5.95 million rubles ($105,000) to 198 legal entities and 181 people.

In the Ural mountain city of Yekaterinburg, where Mexico and France will each play a group game, the regulator said it fined seven hotels, some of which were charging almost three times the allowed rate for rooms.

Russian authorities have taken a hands-on approach to regulating hotel and travel costs during the tournament to prevent the negative publicity of visiting fans being charged large sums.

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