Australians snap up 2006 World Cup tickets

20th December 2005, Comments 0 comments

20 December 2005, SYDNEY - Australian football fans on Tuesday snapped up the full allocation of 8,500 World Cup tickets in an instant when they went on sale electronically.

20 December 2005

SYDNEY - Australian football fans on Tuesday snapped up the full allocation of 8,500 World Cup tickets in an instant when they went on sale electronically.

There were more than 14,000 applications for tickets to next year's event in Germany, Football Federation Australia (FFA) officials said, but FFA chief executive John O'Neill said it had proven impossible to get more tickets from FIFA, the world football organizing body.

"We're not in a sufficiently influential position, particularly being the last team to qualify, to change the system," he said, "and it's not to say that we're sitting here criticizing the system. We're simply saying that we do feel sorry, deeply sorry, and disappointed that we can't satisfy all the people from the football family here who want to go and see Australia play."

He defended a welter of criticism of the first-come, first-served system that favoured those with the fastest computer mouse click.

"It's been a process that has integrity, a process that is as open and transparent as it possibly could have been," O'Neill said. "Everyone's been given an equal chance."

FFA spokesman Stuart Hodge said the FIFA system had been designed to make scalping difficult.

"It works against scalping because you have to supply your passport details and then they will ask you for your passport details at the turnstiles to verify it," Hodge said.

Australia's games in the round-robin stage are against Japan, Brazil and Croatia in Kaiserslautern, Munich and Stuttgart, respectively.

O'Neill said FFA was close to finalizing arrangements for a World Cup base camp in Bavaria in southern Germany.

Australian fans complained that hotels in Kaiserslautern, Munich and Stuttgart were booked out just minutes after the draw was announced or have hiked their prices.

"Getting the game tickets was the easy part," fan Mark Bowman told The Sydney Morning Herald. "The biggest problem is the hotels. All the accommodation websites show sudden increases, miraculously right when the football is on."

Traute Tuckfeld of the German National Tourist Office in Sydney said it was impossible to prevent hoteliers from increasing prices when demand is high.

"Of course prices are higher than normal," she said. "If there is a trade fair in Germany, then the prices are higher."

DPA

Subject: German news

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