Tempers flare as fans fail to buy soccer tickets

2010-05-28 15:00
Bonolo Modise
Tempers were flaring at the FIFA ticketing centre in Maponya Mall, Soweto, earlier today.

At least 200 soccer fans queued outside the shopping centre hoping to lay their hands on the 90 000 last-minute World Cup tickets that were due to be released at 9am.

Richard Lalla, the manager of the ticketing centre, said the tickets were not yet available.

“We are awaiting a call that will let us know when the tickets will go on sale,” explained Lalla.

“Even the people who bought the tickets on-line and planned to collect them today can not access them because they have not been released.”

This is in stark contrast to what Fifa secretary general Jérôme Valcke had said after the unveiling of Soccer City Stadium.

“We are going to ensure that the system will work and not collapse as last time when we were doing the ticket centres,” he promised.

This batch was being offered to the public as the last big inventory. “It was stupid to wait [to sell the tickets] and that’s why we’re putting them in the system,” said Valcke.

But, Fifa’s service provider Match AG said they were experiencing technical difficulties which led to the delay in releasing the tickets.

Meanwhile, supporters also waiting at FNB branches were up in arms after hearing news that the system was still down.

Vicki Trehaeven, an FNB representative, said the bank was just as disappointed about the jumbling of tickets.

“The problem lies with Fifa’s systems. When they are up, we are up. When their systems are slow or down we are also affected,” she said.

Fans have lined up at some ticketing venues for over two days with some camping last night. Attempts to get over-the-counter tickets led them to the Fifa website which was also not of assistance.

“Dear supporter, tickets are not available in the Fifa World Cup Ticketing Center website at this moment. Accept our apologies for any inconvenience caused,” read a comment on the web page.

Despite the continuing fiasco with the tickets, Fifa aims to reach a sales target of 98%.

This would correspond with the figures from the past World Cups.

“This would make us very happy,” said Valcke.

Meanwhile, Sapa has reported that Valcke has since apologised for the ticketing problems, stating that he and Local Organising Committee chief executive Danny Jordaan were “deeply moved” by the fans queuing to get tickets last night.