With just two months until the biggest football tournament in the world kicks off, FIFA chiefs are suffering a headache as over 500 000 World Cup tickets – a quarter of the total available – remain unsold.
There are many reasons why they are finding it so hard to sell all the tickets. Due to the recession many fans will be unwilling to pay high costs for tickets, accommodation and travel to South Africa. Most worryingly is the issue surrounding safety concerns, which was not helped at all by the murder of right-wing politician Eugene Terreblanche, who was hacked to death on his farm during Easter. Terreblanche was a white supremacist and his death has caused unrest and an increase in racial tensions. The incident has resulted in many tickets and packages being returned as punters fear for their safety. It would be unacceptable that something like this could damage an event which has been anticipated and looked forward to all over the world and in South Africa.
In a desperate attempt to encourage sales FIFA have elected to reduce the prices to as low as £14 for local residents and have even put them on sale alongside cans of beans at shopping centres all around South Africa. The problem is, £14 is still a lot of money in the average South African’s budget and the organising body faces a nightmare as they do not want empty seats as the stadia come June, as it will reflect badly on South Africans’ love for the game. Danny Jordaan, South Africa 2010 chief, executive officer said: If we have empty stadiums, it will reinforce the idea that football is not supported in this country and that would be tragic. The reality is this is a football-mad country.”
South Africa will become the first African nation to host the FIFA World Cup and they are determined to do their utmost to put their complications behind them. The football is sure to be a spectacle, let’s just hope the full allocation will be there to see it.