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Ticketing Latest

June 5th, 2006 by · No Comments · Football, Tickets

If you have not managed to secure tickets for any games during the World Cup finals you are not alone. Of the total tickets available for the matches, 3m in total, over 16% will go to FIFA sponsors and suppliers. That’s a total of nearly half a million with another 350,000 allocated to ‘hospitality’.

For the England group games the total allocated to fans is less than 15,000. For the England v Paraguay game in Frankfurt just 5,349 are available from a capacity of 48,000, for England v Trinidad in Nuremberg it’s just 4,292 [capacity of 36,898] and for England v Sweden in Cologne just 4,517 [capacity of 40,950]. According to reports all those tickets have been assigned to supporters groups so, officially, there are none available. With an estimated 100,000 English fans predicted to travel this is obviously going to cause some problems.

As we all know there are always tickets that come onto the market by other means. The very structure of FIFA's allocation policy seemed guaranteed to create a thriving black market. There have been official complaints from fans groups, including well supported petitions, all the way up to the UK Sports Minister Richard Caborn who is seeking to raise it with Sepp Blatter. Whatever the outcome it will come too late to make any difference to this tournament. Maybe FIFA can get it right, for once, by the 2010 games in South Africa.

Black Market tickets

Due to the lack of supply, and the huge demand, a thriving black market has emerged. Dozens of online agencies are offering tickets for every game. Tickets for England's possible group decider against Sweden are currently being offered for ?995, 10 times face value. Tickets for the final are on sale for ?2,850. Illegal touting carries a fine of up to ?5,000, and under anti-hooligan laws it is illegal for anyone other than official bodies such as the Football Association and FIFA to sell tickets for England matches in the UK. But internet-based touts have exploited a loophole in the law by basing themselves abroad.

An FA spokesman, Andrin Cooper, warned that buying from touts carries a severe risk: ‘You may end up paying an extortionate amount for something that is not genuine or, more likely, will not get you access to the ground.’

To control the touts the organising committee announced plans to carry out a passport check on every fan entering and tickets will be printed with the name of the purchaser. Anyone who has ever attended a football match will be familiar with the habits of most fans which is to turn up at the last possible minute. So, just a quick glance at the statistics, the numbers of fans to individually check at each game, and you can see the logistical impossibility. Many expected the organizers to reduce the checks if only to avoid a repeat of tragedies like Hillsborough, and now it seems those predictions were accurate.

World Cup ID checks cut back

It was announced, just days before the tournament starts, that few fans will have their ticket and passport checked before entering the stadiums. The organizers now estimate that only 10 per cent of fans will face random spot-checks. However the announcement will most likely mean that more fans without legitimate tickets will turn up even closer to kick-off hoping to use the sheer weight of numbers to avoid checks. Ironically a new allocation of over 42,000 tickets has just been released by FIFA due to sponsors failing to take up their full allocation.

Tickets for votes

Germany faced fresh embarrassment over its ticketing policies last week after it emerged that an official sponsor had given hundreds of free tickets to leading German politicians. Prosecutors said they were investigating whether the German energy company EnBW had broken the law by offering the tickets to regional and national MPs. They were examining whether the MPs who accepted the tickets had received preferential treatment.


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