Blatter concerned by ticketing arrangements

May 8, 2006

FIFA president Sepp Blatter has admitted looming problems over World Cup tickets at next month's tournament are still unresolved.

German organisers and government officials are insisting every single ticket must be checked against passports or ID cards before fans are allowed into the stadia.

FIFA fear such a rigid stance will lead to huge queues, delays, half-empty stadia and possibly crowd trouble - but insist they are powerless to force any changes.

Blatter met World Cup organising president Franz Beckenbauer and ticket chief Horst Schmidt on Friday but was unable to reach any agreement.

He told a media briefing in London: 'There has been no movement towards a more flexible solution because they say they have to control every single visitor to the stadium.

'The German organisers are in a very uncomfortable situation. On one side you have the governmental authorities in charge of security who say in such a perturbed world it's not enough to protect the borders of Germany, but they have to look at everyone going to the stadium.

'That's why they have issued these regulations all tickets must be identified at the barrier.

'Then you have human rights organisations saying this is personal data that must be protected.'

Blatter will raise the issue when he meets German chancellor Angela Merkel next week but said the consequences were clear.

He added: 'It's obvious if you do this control it will cause delays. How long will it take to let people into the stadium, and what happens if a father has given his ticket to his son?

'They have just three weeks to solve this problem, but it's a German problem. We cannot tell them to change it but we can put a question mark about how it will work.'

Blatter has also defended the ticket allocation to fans for the World Cup. Each national association was awarded only 8 per cent of tickets to sell to their own fans, although more have since been made available.

FIFA also give 16 per cent of tickets to their commercial sponsors.

Blatter said: 'We could sell such a competition 10 times over but 66 per cent of tickets are sold to the public, and of those that go to sponsors 70-80 per cent of those go to the fans through competitions.'

Meanwhile, Blatter revealed FIFA are to appoint an independent ethics body to oversee the organisation.

The current ethics committee is made up of FIFA officials and appointed representatives and he admits that an independent watchdog was needed instead.

It follows FIFA vice-president Jack Warner being cleared by the ethics committee of a conflict of interest after a travel agency owned by his family secured the rights to sell all Trinidad and Tobago's World Cup ticket allocation. Warner is an official adviser to the T&T football association.

In a separate issue, Blatter claimed the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) has turned down an offer by the Court for Arbitration in Sport for their officials to help negotiate between the two bodies in an effort to settle the remaining differences over the worldwide code on drugs.