TELECOM Digest OnLine - Sorted: Word Cup Fans Warned Against Buying Tickets on Ebay

Word Cup Fans Warned Against Buying Tickets on Ebay

Mark Trevelyan (
Thu, 18 May 2006 11:28:29 -0500

By Mark Trevelyan

Soccer fans who missed out on the official World Cup draws will run a
big risk if they buy unauthorized tickets via online auction house
Ebay, a German official said on Thursday.

For security reasons, tickets for the month-long tournament starting
June 9 are personalized with the buyer's name, and are not
transferable except under special circumstances. But that has not
stopped a lively market from developing on the Internet.

Asked what advice he would give to a prospective Ebay buyer, German
soccer chief Theo Zwanziger said: "I would just warn him he's running
a risk. He's going to the stadium under a false name ... and he runs
the risk he will be turned away."

He dismissed a reporter's suggestion that stadium officials would in
practice only be able to check a small proportion of fans' identities.

"Why are you so sure? We have a lot of stewards on the spot,"
Zwanziger said.

"If we have indications, firstly that the security situation is
critical, and secondly that people are coming to the stadium without
officially issued tickets, there will be intensive checks.

"And then those who don't have (official tickets) will be spotted, and
they'll have paid a lot of money and they'll be sent home. So I'd
advise them to spare themselves the frustration."

On Ebay's German Web site,, the top bid for a ticket for
Brazil versus Australia on June 18 was 431 euros ($551) on Thursday
afternoon, while a seat for Germany versus Poland on June 14 was
fetching 445 euros, in both cases several times the official price.

World soccer's governing body FIFA has criticized the German
organizers over the ticketing arrangements, with president Sepp
Blatter expressing concern last week that ID checks would lead to
excessive queues and could mean there are many empty seats.

Zwanziger told a conference in Berlin: "We did it because we believe
this is an additional security factor."

He added that the organizers could have charged 50 percent more for
all tickets and still sold out, but had kept prices reasonable because
"we have a responsibility to the fans."

Separately, Germany's organizing committee announced on Thursday that
42,495 tickets had been returned by their holders for resale. The
tickets were returned by FIFA from various federations that did not
use sell their full allotted amount.

Copyright 2006 Reuters Limited.

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