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Soccer fans scramble for WC tickets online

Advice not to buy tickets through unofficial websites seems to have fallen on deaf ears since fans are bidding high for WC tickets.

india Updated: May 24, 2006 18:07 IST

Soccer fans are bidding thousands of euros for World Cup tickets online even though tournament organisers have warned that they risk being turned away at the stadiums.

For security reasons, tickets for the month-long tournament starting on June 9 are personalised with the buyer's name and are not transferable except under special circumstances.

Advice not to buy tickets through unofficial websites seems to have fallen on deaf ears though.

The highest bid for two "category 2" tickets to the final on July 9 was 4,343 euros ($5,553) on Germany's eBay online auction portal (www.ebay.de) at 1330 GMT on Tuesday, compared with the official price of 720 euros.

The seller explained that the tickets would have to be officially transferred into the name of the winner.

"I won these tickets in a lottery. They still have to be personalised - in your name and that of one more person. Absolutely serious and without risk," the seller declared.

Another pair of tickets to the final had a top bid of 3,577 euros.

The seller however claims that there was no risk involved in the purchase of the tickets.

"I won these tickets in a lottery and they're not personalised. So the buyer can turn around and sell them if he wants to," he said.

There are many such ads on eBay.

"I won the tickets but unfortunately I can't go!" wrote one seller, whose two tickets to the opening match between Germany and Costa Rica had a top bid of 1,830 euros.

Like others, the seller warned that the transfer of the tickets would be subject to world soccer governing body FIFA's regulations, which only permits transfers if there has been prior written approval from the organising committee.

"Transfers to other persons are allowed under the FIFA World Cup regulations - so there's no risk!" the seller said.

He also added that hooligans who might be on a black list should not bid for the tickets because the transfer would not be approved.

FIFA has criticised World Cup organisers over the ticketing arrangements, with president Sepp Blatter expressing concern that ID checks could lead to excessive queues and mean empty seats.