Supermarket sale for World Cup tickets
THE last ticket sales phase for the World Cup finals begins today with about a third of tickets still unsold and Fifa wanting to avoid the sight of large numbers of empty seats in stadiums during the tournament.
Seats are available for all matches and Fifa hopes to make it easier for South Africans to buy tickets by setting up cash sales points in supermarkets in the nine host cities. Until now, tickets could be purchased only via the internet or a ballot procedure at banks.
Those restrictions and high prices in comparison with the low incomes of many South Africans have led to sluggish ticket sales in the host nation, while foreign visitors have been discouraged by the cost and hassle of travel to and within the country as well as the fear of crime.
Some tour operators have been forced to reduce prices because of low demand.
Last week, Fifa said that 2.2 million tickets have been sold out of a total of approximately three million.
The first match is on June 11. About 300 tickets remain for the final. Fifa added an additional sales phase earlier in the year in a bid to stimulate demand.
The governing body admitted earlier this year that the number of overseas visitors could prove more than a third lower than the original prediction of 450,000.
"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," Danny Jordaan, the head of the South African organising committee, said.
Despite reports of disappointing sales in European nations such as Germany and the Netherlands, England will be well represented at the tournament, it seems.
The English FA has sold about 23,000 tickets to supporters via the 'englandfans' scheme and nearly 70,000 more have been bought by fans via the Fifa website.
Almost everyone who applied for tickets via the FA has been successful. (© The Times, London)