World Cup ticket cash sales running out of steam

Wed May 5, 2010 10:09am EDT
 

JOHANNESBURG (Reuters) - More than half of the 500,000 World Cup tickets offered for cash sales were still available, organizers said Wednesday, just over a month before the tournament starts.

Initial brisk business when the fifth and final phase of sales opened in South Africa on April 15, sparking long queues, appears to have cooled.

Greg Fredericks, head World Cup local organizing committee CEO Danny Jordaan's office, told Johannesburg city councilors less than 300,000 tickets remained for the June 11-July 11 tournament.

"We are approaching 90 percent ticket sales for the World Cup," he said.

FIFA spokeswoman Delia Fischer confirmed that 230,000 of the allotted 500,000 phase five tickets -- the first to be sold over the counter -- had been sold.

Soccer's world governing body moved to cash sales after widespread criticism that its Internet-based system was too complicated and effectively excluded millions of poor black fans in the host country who do not have access to computers or credit cards.

Supporters initially rushed to buy those seats, with 130,000 tickets sold in the first three days.

Fredericks said matches in Johannesburg -- which will host the opening and final matches -- and Pretoria were sold out but there were still many tickets available for matches in Polokwane, Port Elizabeth and Nelspruit.

He also said the government would soon release a transportation timetable for planes, buses and other public transport for the month-long soccer spectacular.

(Reporting by Zaheer Cassim; Editing by Ken Ferris)