Ticket sales for the highly-anticipated FIFA Confederations Cup are expected to gain momentum in the next few weeks after FIFA and the 2010 FIFA World Cup™ Organising Committee came up with a masterplan that will accelerate the sale of tickets within South Africa.
The 'over-the-counter' plan, which has been given the thumbs up in South Africa, aims at simplifying the process of purchasing FIFA Confederations Cup tickets, a move that is certain to invite a flood of ticket applications for the 'Festival of Champions.'
From this week, football supporters within the host country will be able to purchase FIFA Confederations Cup tickets for the June extravaganza from Ticketing Centres that have been planted in the four host cities: Johannesburg, Tshwane/Pretoria, Mangaung/Bloemfontein and Rustenburg.
The plan was initiated not only to give ticket sales a shot in the arm, but to afford South Africans, who for varying reasons are unable to fill in the online application, an opportunity to book their seats in the two-week long tournament. The majority of South Africans do not have access to the internet.
Explaining the reasoning behind the new initiative, FIFA Secretary General, Jerome Valcke said there was a need by FIFA to try to meet South African football fans half-way by simplifying the ticket-purchasing process. "I think maybe we were wrong by not understanding that generally, South Africans usually buy tickets on a matchday and are not used to long procedures before they can get their ticket," he said. "At FIFA, we have our rules, we host this tournament (the FIFA World Cup) every four years, but one has to appreciate that in each and every country, things are done differently and we have to adjust to the local culture. This will, of course, differ from one place to the other."
South Africans are very passionate people and we hope by simplifying the process there's now no stopping them filling the stadiums.
Valcke maintains that he expects the FIFA Confederations Cup games to attract capacity crowds. "I promised the FIFA President that all seats at the FIFA Confederations Cup are going to be sold out and I believe that. Now the challenge is between us as FIFA and the LOC to make sure we get that job done. We have received massive support from the media and you can see people are really excited about this tournament," the FIFA Secretary-General added.
South Africans who want to watch the spectacle have been given a stern warning: "Act now, or you will miss out." Already, the match between former world champions, Brazil and current world champions, Italy at the Loftus Versveld in Tshwane/Pretoria has been sold out. Another match almost sold-out is the final, which will take place at Johannesburg's Ellis Park Stadium.
Passionate South African football fan, Johannes Mofokeng was bowled over by the new arrangement. "This is going to help our supporters, most of whom are illiterate and cannot read nor write," he told FIFA.com. "Most of the fans just want to buy a ticket and they struggled with the idea of filling forms, it was a new culture for us. Now, I'm confident that fellow South Africans will find the new arrangement convenient."
2010 FIFA World Cup Organising Committee (OC) CEO, Danny Jordaan said he believes South Africans have now realised that the FIFA Confederations Cup might be their only chance of watching some of the best players in the world live at the stadiums.
"The indications we are getting from the sales of the FIFA World Cup next year is that it will be over-subscribed and that means that many South Africans are likely to miss out. That is why it becomes vital for them to go out and purchase a FIFA Confederations Cup ticket. South Africans are very passionate people and we hope by simplifying the process there's now no stopping them filling the stadiums", urged Jordaan.
After the OC board meeting in Sandton on Tuesday 28 April it was revealed that more than 320,000 of the 640,000 available tickets had been sold for the event, which is a dress-rehearsal for the ultimate prize, the 2010 FIFA World Cup.