World Cup ticket sellers hope to beat recession

February 18, 2009

FIFA is it can buck the global recession by selling out every match for the 2010 World Cup in South Africa.

Ticket sales begin worldwide on Friday for the event in June and July next year.

"I'd be a very stupid person to say there will not be any effect on the World Cup from the global recession but the problem is we don't know just how big an impact it will have on the World Cup," David Will, chairman of the FIFA's World Cup ticketing committee, told a media briefing.

"The footballing public are a very peculiar group and they might not be too bothered about the global recession or even losing their jobs to go and follow their teams at the World Cup.

"It is our aim to sell every ticket in every stadium for every match."

From a total stock of around three million tickets, some 740,000 will be available for purchase during a first sales phase that runs until April 15.

Tickets will be sold through FIFA's website (www.fifa.com) and in South Africa through bank branches.

Successful applicants will be chosen in a random ballot but will not be issued their physical tickets until April next year when they can obtain them through specially created automatic teller machines situated around the venues in South Africa.

Prices range from $20 in the lowest category for first-round matches to $900 for a first category ticket to the final.

For the 2006 World Cup finals in Germany there were 20 million requests during the first sales phase for 750,000 available tickets, said former German Football Federation general secretary Horst Schmidt, who attended the briefing.

Fans are allowed to buy up to four tickets per match to a maximum of seven matches.

"It is very important that no tickets land on the parallel market. Fans must only buy from authorised operators or by themselves. It is too easy to fall prey to fraudsters," said Jaime Bryom, executive chairman of Match, the British-based company that is running the World Cup ticketing for FIFA.

Last month, World Cup organisers expressed concern that stadiums would not be full during the tournament and urged South African fans to break their habit of buying tickets on match day.

Soccer games rarely sell out in Africa, making it relatively easy for fans to buy tickets at the gate. But doing so during the World Cup would see many locals shut out.

The 2010 World Cup will be hosted by 10 stadiums in nine cities from June 11-July 11.