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Page last updated at 15:43 GMT, Friday, 16 April 2010 16:43 UK

South African fans snap up 100,000 World Cup tickets

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Over-the-counter Cup tickets on sale

More than 100,000 World Cup tickets have been sold in less than two days since cash sales began in South Africa.

Some 500,000 match tickets were made available over the counter at various World Cup venues earlier this week.

Scuffles broke out after thousands of fans who had queued overnight were left frustrated when computer systems crashed, initially slowing sales.

Police used pepper spray to control frustrated fans and in Cape Town a 64-year-old man died from a heart attack.

The tragedy in Cape Town came after fans from all over the country had queued from Wednesday afternoon as World Cup fever gripped South Africa.

Jaime Byrom of Match, Fifa's ticketing partner, said: "We want to extend our apologies to the general public, who tried to obtain tickets, and we want to thank them for their patience and understanding.

"We have already been able to identify the challenges."

Tickets for all matches, including the 11 July final, remain available.

GORDON FARQUHAR'S BLOG

BBC sports news correspondent Gordon Farquhar said Fifa's integrated ticketing computer had encountered problems, resulting in long waiting times for queuing fans.

After three and a half hours in Cape Town on Thursday, only 32 people out of a crowd of about 1,000 had managed to buy tickets.

"No one's informed us about what's going on. No one's directing the public outside," said Theo Spangenberg, who had been waiting for 16 hours and still had not made it inside the newly opened ticketing centre.

"For a World Cup, an international event of this nature, it's a really, really bad show."

The ticket centres opened across the country at 0900 (0800 BST) for the last phase of sales.

One man fortunate enough to get tickets was Malin Fisher, a 32-year-old trainee church minister. Fisher was first through the doors of a shopping mall in Soweto and spent more than 10,000 rand (£880) on six tickets, including two for the World Cup final.

South African fans have rushed to buy tickets for the World Cup
South African fans have been snapping up the available tickets

"The internet and applying was a bit frustrating but to be able to buy World Cup final tickets over the counter, that was amazing," he said.

BBC Africa correspondent Andrew Harding said there were exuberant scenes in Sandton, north of Johannesburg, where people camped out on the street through the night.

"I just want to be part of the magic of 2010," said Deon McCarthy. "That's why I'm here. Look at the atmosphere, the spirit here. It's great."

Many South Africans had complained the original process, by which tickets were sold through Fifa's website or in a complicated ballot at a local bank branch, excluded people without web access, credit cards or the disposable income to pay months in advance.

"We are excited about these new initiatives, which make the process much easier for everyone," said World Cup 2010 boss Danny Jordaan.

"We have always said that it is important that we make this World Cup more accessible to the people and with over the counter sales, we believe this measure is consistent with the needs of the fans."

BBC NEWS BLOG
Andrew Harding

Fifa and local organizers had come under pressure to sell a large tranche of tickets for the month-long tournament beginning on 11 June with so many remaining unsold.

Ticket prices are well above normal for top-level football in South Africa.

Those in a special category for local residents sell at 145 rand (£13), but costs escalate drastically in other categories and for games after the first-round group phase.

Prices for premier seats at the final come in at 6,582 rand (£581).

Demand in South Africa had initially been sluggish but the most recent phase saw 85% of the 240,000 tickets sold between February and the beginning of April go to locals.

Fifa has since revealed that 2.2m tickets have been sold for the tournament.



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see also
Fifa urges SA fans to buy tickets
09 Apr 10 |  World Cup 2010
SA2010 final tickets go on sale
14 Apr 10 |  African
England fans in Cup tickets push
25 Jan 10 |  World Cup 2010
World Cup map
05 Dec 09 |  World Cup 2010
Guide to the teams at South Africa 2010
05 Dec 09 |  World Cup 2010
England enjoy kind World Cup draw
04 Dec 09 |  World Cup 2010
South Africa ready for Cup - Fifa
02 Mar 10 |  World Cup 2010


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