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FIFA says 53,000 tickets sold in 8 hours

sports Updated: Apr 16, 2010 14:41 IST
AP
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FIFA said 53,000 World Cup tickets were sold in the first eight hours of the final phase on Thursday, and blamed high demand for the technical problems that caused delays and led to fan frustration.

FIFA said 23 of the 64 games were sold out after tickets went on sale at ticket centers and banks across South Africa.

Match, the company employed by FIFA to run the ticket process, apologized for the glitches which led police to be
called to centers in Johannesburg, Cape Town and Pretoria to calm frustrated fans.

Match chief executive Jaime Byrom said they "identified the challenges" and thanked fans for their patience.

About 500,000 seats were made available to local fans, the first time 2010 tickets could be bought for cash.

Earlier, police were called to the World Cup ticket center in Cape Town as FIFA's attempt to boost sluggish ticket
sales made fans angry at the delays caused by technical difficulties.

A crowd gathered at the entrance to the center and chanted and yelled at organizers. Police were called to keep
them calm.

After 3 hours, only 32 people out of a crowd of about 1,000 managed to buy tickets.

"No one's informed us what's going on. No one's directing the public outside. A primary school sports event could be
better organized than this," said Theo Spangenberg, who had been waiting for 16 hours and still hadn't made it inside the
newly opened facility.

"For a World Cup, an international event of this nature, it's a really, really bad show."

The carnival atmosphere at the start of the day, as fans across the country were given a first chance to buy some of
the 500,000 tickets still available, quickly disappeared in Cape Town.

About 300 tickets for the final were to be sold on a first-come first-served basis. Fans inside the ticketing
center slept on the floor as they waited to be served.

A representative from Match said she could not guarantee that every person would be helped.

"I can understand there's a lot of frustrated people outside, and we have experienced some teething problems, since
it is our first day," Christa Venter said. "The IT guys are well aware of the problem. Obviously it is a timely process,
since we are experiencing quite high volumes at this stage countrywide."

Earlier in Cape Town, a 64-year-old man died of an apparent heart attack, but it was not related to the problems
at the ticket office.

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