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Last Updated: Tuesday, 3 May, 2005, 12:44 GMT 13:44 UK
World Cup ticket sale costs cut
Order form for 2006 World Cup
Fans have already snapped up more than 800,000 tickets
Football supporters living outside the eurozone will find it easier and less costly to purchase tickets for next year's World Cup in Germany.

The European Commission has intervened after a complaint was lodged on behalf of UK fans by consumer group Which?.

Those without a Mastercard or a German bank account had to pay for tickets by arranging a euro transfer, which also added bank charges to the price.

European fans can now make a bank transfer in their local currency.

"Following these changes, football fans will benefit from a fairer choice of payment methods for World Cup tickets," said EU Competition Commissioner Neelie Kroes.

"Fans from all over Europe want fair access to these tickets, especially as it may be many years before the World Cup will be back in Europe."

Accounts opened

Which? had claimed a deal between World Cup organiser Fifa, the German Football Federation and Mastercard breached European competition law.

Following talks with the European Commission, Fifa and the German Football Federation has opened bank accounts in the 16 European countries outside the eurozone.

The changes came into force as the latest stage of World Cup ticket sales opened on Monday.

More than 800,000 tickets have already been snapped up by 208,455 people picked randomly from initial applications.

The Commission decided against taking action over the exclusive use of Mastercard.

But Which? welcomed the decision, noting the new payment method would enable UK fans to avoid paying bank transfer charges of up to 35 on each purchase or credit card exchange rate fees.

Most UK banks do not charge for making money transfers to other UK-based accounts.

Which? is, however, asking Fifa to clarify what it intends to do for those fans who have already bought tickets.

World Cup ticket sale row erupts
08 Mar 05 |  Business

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