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Up to 500,000 tickets unsold

April 14th, 2010 by · No Comments · Football, Tickets

With fears of empty stadiums growing the organizing committee has given itself a huge task of shifting almost 25% of the tournament’s total match tickets in just two months.

FIFA concede that their initial online process was not suited to local fans, who are relatively poor, do not have credit cards and have limited, and expensive, internet access. How you go through a global bidding process and fail to unearth those nuggets is beyond me.

Committee chief Danny Jordaan said it would be “tragic” for the host country if stadiums were empty. “If we do have empty stadiums, it will reinforce the idea that football is not supported in the country and that would be tragic,”. “The reality is that this is a football-mad country.” Jordaan urged fans to “go buy now” at the 11 World Cup ticketing centres, supermarkets and banks.

FIFA said 2.2 million tickets had been sold ahead of the fifth and final sales phase. Fans in South Africa bought 925,437, followed by the United States with 118,945. Just 67,654 World Cup tickets have been sold in the United Kingdom with Germany less than half that with 32,269.

FIFA would not comment on the rumour that a significant part of the remaining tickets were ‘returns’ from commercial partners and affiliates. With reduced budgets and the pressure to look frugal many corporate customers have cut back or cancelled their hospitality operations.

Either way at least 120,000 category 4 tickets, the cheapest and reserved exclusively for South Africans, are still to be sold. Prices are $19 for a group game but $67 to watch South Africa play Mexico in the opener. This in a country where fans rarely pay more than $2 a ticket for a local game.

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