Tickets for the 2010 Fifa Soccer World Cup go on sale on the Internet in just under three weeks at a prominent South African bank.
With Monday having marked 500 days to the World Cup kick-off on June 11, 2010 â€” today there are 495 days to go â€” tickets for the event go on sale in 20 daysâ€™ time, on February 19.
Tickets are available to the general public at R200 for the cheapest first round ticket to R9 000 for the most expensive ticket for the final, but are also on sale as part of tour packages which are expected to be expensive.
The World Cup tickets are on sale in only two places â€” on the Internet at the website of world governing body Fifa (www.fifa.com), and at any First National Bank (FNB) branch.
Like the Confederations Cup in June this year, tickets are sold by application, and the successful applicants are informed at a later date.
Fifa media officer Delia Fischer did not want to expand too greatly on the process of buying tickets when contacted by The Witness.
â€œWe donâ€™t want to start the media build-up for the selling of the tickets until a closer date to them going on sale because we want the hype closer to the time, otherwise people become blasÃ© about it,â€ Fischer said.
While a rush is expected for tickets from February 19, concerns have been raised about their accessibility to ordinary soccer fans, who are not high income earners.
A recent article in Business Dayâ€™s Sport Monthly magazine questioned how many of the cheap Category four tickets â€” on sale to South Africans only â€” will be available. These tickets are also expected to be in greater number for games involving the less glamorous teams (for example, between Paraguay and the USA) and in the worst area of the stadium.
Further hampering ordinary soccer fansâ€™ chances of obtaining tickets is an expected middle-class rush when sales open.
There are three million tickets for the World Cup, though only half are on sale to the general public.
Of the three million total, 12% go to the participating associations of the 32 qualifying teams while a significant amount are also set aside for hospitality and tour packages.
Fifa have also put an end to the short window of opportunity in previous World Cups where, when the tickets first went on sale, residents of the host country would get precedence.
â€œThe one privilege we [South Africans] have is to get exclusive access to the worst tickets in the house,â€ the Sports World article, by soccer journalist Mark Gleeson, stated.
Category four tickets are priced at $20 (R200) for first round games (R700 for the opening game), $50 (R500) for the second round, R750 for the quarter-finals, and R1 000 for the semi-finals, while the cheapest-priced ticket for the final is R1 500.
For Category one to three tickets, which are also available on the domestic South African market, the prices range from R2 000 to R4 500 for the first round, and from R4 000 to R9 000 for the most expensive ticket to the final.
Overall, the prices are almost in line with those at the previous World Cup in Germany, where the average was $136 per ticket, while in South Africa it will be $139.
In 2010, 400 000 tourists are expected to travel to South Africa for the World Cup, which is down from the original 900 000 predicted when the country won the bid in 2006 â€” this thanks to the global economic downturn.
AUTHOR: Marc Strydom
DATED: 30th January 2009