[an error occurred while processing this directive]
BBC News
watch One-Minute World News
Last Updated: Wednesday, 14 June 2006, 15:06 GMT 16:06 UK
Easy search for Nuremberg tickets
By Tom Geoghegan
BBC News, Nuremberg

With only 5,000 official tickets, England fans still managed to almost fill Frankfurt's 55,000-seat stadium. Will the same happen in Nuremberg?

Dave Campbell says he'll pay 400 euros
Dave Campbell says he'll pay 400 euros for a ticket

It took about five minutes to find a match ticket for sale.

After a couple of enquiries, I was directed to a tall, blond English man standing outside a bar full of England fans.

"Five or six hundred euros each, mate," he replied after I said I wanted two.

An incredulous look appeared on his face when I asked him if I'd be sitting with Trinidad and Tobago fans.

"What Trinidad end? Mate, there's 41,000 tickets, right? England will have 38,000. It's going to be the same as Saturday."

He said the tickets had come from Trinidad and Tobago returns and from sponsors.

A few yards away, fans looking for tickets were angry they were being asked to pay so much on the black market.

TICKET SPLIT
36%: Fifa website sale
19%: FAs and fans of participating teams
16%: sponsors
12%: hospitality
9%: German FA
6%: FAs round the world
2%: Broadcasters

John Allison, 40, from Birmingham, said his absolute cash limit was 300 euros (205) and he was not hopeful of getting one. He had bought one for his son Billy on Saturday for 330 euros.

He said: "It's absolutely scandalous. You can't buy the tickets in the normal way if you're not on the internet like me - I'm from another generation.

"Ten out of 10 to the Germans for what they've organised for the fans. But there's way too many corporate tickets."

Supporters have pointed the finger of blame at sponsors. One fan said she got a ticket off a tout with a brand name printed on it, while others say sponsors have been openly selling them on the street.

Concerns that real fans were not getting enough tickets were raised before the tournament by the Football Supporters Federation.

For each match, Fifa gave the FA of each of the two competing sides about 8% of the tickets for its fans.

In England this was increased slightly after lobbying by the Football Association but it still meant only about 5,000 tickets for 25,000 members of the official supporters' club.

England usually have the largest travelling support
England usually have the largest travelling support

They were distributed mainly on the basis of how many qualifying games had been attended, but a third went into a lottery for other official members.

A third of the tickets were sold on Fifa's website, sponsors had 16% and 12% were hospitality packages.

It is feasible that most of the corporate tickets went to English clients, but the anecdotal evidence on the street suggests a significant number ended up in the pockets of touts.

Seasoned England supporters, with their match tickets safely locked away, said it was the same old story.

Twenty-five years into his England-supporting career, Martin O'Hara, 51, from Doncaster, said: "We weren't really surprised to see the stadium so full of supporters, because we are the world's best at buying tickets and we are prepared to pay for it.

"But getting only 8% of the official allocation, as opposed to 20% at Euro 2004, made me think it wouldn't be quite as full of England as it was.

"The majority paid way over the odds and the pity is that the people getting the money are people with no interest in the game - the touts."

Risks

There is also a risk buying from a tout because about one in 10 tickets is checked on entry to the ground, to make sure the name and age is a match.

Martin Halterman, Fifa's spokesman in Nuremberg, said he estimated only 2% of tickets for Thursday's match would end up on the black market, and that overall the ticketing arrangements had been a success.

There was some good news for England supporters when the FA announced an extra 250 tickets on sale for the match, making 4,550 in total for the official fans.

But expect there to be considerably more when David Beckham leads the team out on to the pitch.




FEATURES, VIEWS, ANALYSIS
Has China's housing bubble burst?
How the world's oldest clove tree defied an empire
Why Royal Ballet principal Sergei Polunin quit

PRODUCTS & SERVICES

Americas Africa Europe Middle East South Asia Asia Pacific