Page last updated at 18:53 GMT, Wednesday, 27 January 2010

South Africa World Cup 'snubbed by foreign fans'


Foreign fans 'snub SA World Cup'

The football World Cup in South Africa will be played in front of fewer foreign fans than initially expected, says governing body Fifa.

Secretary-general Jerome Valcke said there were also too few flights to cater for demand, and also suggested some fans were concerned about safety.

Fifa says it expects less than 450,000 foreign fans - a target the body had hoped to meet with ease.

South Africans have snapped up most of the two million tickets sold so far.

The US makes up the largest contingent of foreign fans wanting tickets - with the UK next on the list.

The BBC's Jonah Fisher, in Johannesburg, says Fifa are clearly disappointed at the number of people planning to travel to the tournament.

Mr Valcke told a news conference: "It is true that the PMAs [local football associations] find it currently difficult to sell the tickets due to limited flights available.

"Therefore we are now working together with the airlines to create extra flights and packages to help the PMAs to sell their tickets."

Mr Valcke also said concerns about security in South Africa seemed to have put off some foreign fans.

He said criticism had been coming mainly from Germany and England.

Our correspondent says Mr Valcke was clearly angered by the criticism and described the comments as insane and completely wrong.

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