Ticket breakthrough for SA fans

World Cup seats go on sale for cash after Fifa reverses ruling that excluded poor.

    Jordaan says he is pleased the ticketing for the finals has become simpler [GALLO/GETTY]

    Half a million World Cup tickets with be available for cash in shops across South Africa after football authorities agreed that online sales were excluding ordinary people.

    As the country prepares to host Africa's first World Cup in June, there had been accusations that ticket sales favoured the elite over millions of low-income fans.

    But world governing body Fifa agreed on Wednesday to drop a ruling that seats could only be bought online or in a complex ballot system.

    Tickets are still available for all 64 matches except the final at Soccer City in Johannesburg on July 11.

    Last tickets

    The final phase of sales for the tournament will see selling-points in shopping malls in the nine host cities and in supermarkets.

    "We are excited about these new initiatives, which make the process much easier for everyone," Danny Jordaan, who heads the South African organising committee, said.

    A fan supports South Africa against Namibia last month [GALLO/GETTY]

    "We have always said that it is important that we make this World Cup more accessible to the people and with the over-the-counter sales, we believe this measure is consistent with the needs of the fans."

    Fifa had previously insisted on selling tickets through its website or in ballots at a local bank branch.

    Many South Africans complained the process excluded people without web access, credit cards or the disposable income to pay for their tickets months in advance.

    "For this last phase, we have made a big effort to assist football fans by introducing various additional means to purchase a ticket," said Jerome Valcke, Fifa's general secretary.

    "We are committed to facilitating the process for all fans and giving them this last chance to attend the matches and experience the excitement of this first World Cup in Africa."

    Ticket prices are also well above normal for top-level football in South Africa.

    A special category of tickets for South Africans sells at $20.

    Top seats

    But costs escalate drastically in higher categories for better seats and after the first-round group phase. Tickets for top seats at the final cost $900.

    Demand in South Africa had initially been sluggish but the most recent phase saw locals snap up 85 per cent of the 240,000 tickets sold between February and the beginning of this month.

    Fifa said last week that 2.2 million tickets had been sold for the competition, which kicks off on June 11.

    South Africa will play Mexico, France and Uruguay in one of eight groups in the first round.

    SOURCE: Agencies


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