Fifa ticket sales reconsidered

The 2010 Fifa World Cup local organising committee (LOC) will reconsider the way tickets are sold to South Africans, CEO Danny Jordaan said on Friday.

“In April we are considering changing the way tickets are sold in South Africa. This will be discussed in a meeting that will be held in Zurich,” Jordaan told media at Durban’s Moses Mabhida stadium.

At the moment, ticket buyers needed to apply to buy tickets rather than buy them over a counter.

He said out of the three million available tickets, almost 50% had been sold. He was confident South Africa would have full stadiums and all the tickets would be sold.

“There has been improvement in the tickets sales for Bafana Bafana, after we announced that we were worried.
About 26 000 tickets were sold for the game,” he said of the World Cup opening game between Bafana Bafana and Mexico.

The debate on ticket sales has been ongoing after Jordaan, complained on Tuesday that fewer than 100 000 tickets have been sold to fans in the six African countries competing in the finals. He was particularly worried that few local fans were buying tickets for Bafana Bafana’s Group A matches against Mexico, Uruguay and France.

But many South Africans have struggled with the complicated application processes for purchasing tickets. The Mail & Guardian reported on Thursday that Fifa will sell tickets over the counter at a later stage,

Brazil and England fans

Jordaan suggested in an interview with Talk Radio 702 on Wednesday that the majority of South African fans had opted to buy tickets for more popular teams such as Brazil and England, but this could not be confirmed by Fifa, as no exact figures will be available until after the third sales phase.

“As the third ticket sales phase is currently ongoing, we will not be able to provide exact figures until the end of this phase, on January 22,” explained Fifa spokesperson Delia Fischer. “However, we can confirm that so far, there has been a significant increase in the interest from South African fans.”

Fischer says that while many of the tickets for the most popular matches will most likely be sold out by the end of the third sales phase, punters will be able to purchase “over-the-counter” surplus tickets from designated ticket collection points, which will be located in each host city.

“Over-the-counter sale was always scheduled to start by April 15. However, tickets will be sold subject to availability and probably the best tickets to the most popular matches will be gone by then. Fans waiting until then really risk missing out.

“To increase the fans’ chances of securing tickets for the matches of their choice, we recommend they apply also for category one or two tickets, as they will have a better chance of success in the ticket allocation process, i.e. the random draw.”

Too complicated
Currently tickets are only available through online booking or by filling in an application form in the branches of a single bank.

Critics argue that both processes are simply too complicated for the average South African fan. Going the online route is not viable for the majority of soccer fans who do not have internet access and the second option requires applicants to fill in a complicated form which requires an enormous amount of detail.

While Fischer conceded that the system might not have been ideal for the South African situation, she says the ticketing system was introduced to ensure fans from across the globe had an equal opportunity to attend the soccer showpiece.

“The World Cup is a global tournament and you need to provide fans all over the world with equal chances to buy tickets. Therefore, ticket sales phases have been introduced and for oversubscribed matches, such as the final and opening match, a random draw will determine who gets tickets.”

Kick-off celebration
Meanwhile, at the Moses Mabhida stadium on Friday Jordaan said he was excited that Durban would host the banquet for the 100 days till kick-off celebration to take place on March 2.

He said invitations had been sent out but could not say whether Fifa president Sepp Blatter would attend.

During the banquet the LOC would recognise some of the greatest players to come from the African continent, including South Africans Lucas Radebe and Steve “Kalamazoo” Mokone, and Roger Milla of Cameroon and Abedi Pele of Ghana. “We will also recognise the six African countries that will be playing in the World Cup,” he said.

Jordaan was joined by the KwaZulu-Natal MEC for local government and traditional affairs Nomusa Dube, Durban mayor Obed Mlaba, SA Football Association executive member and regional president Alpha Mchunu and chairman of the parliamentary sports portfolio Butana Komphela.—Sapa and the M&G

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