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FIFA 2010

FIFA guns for ticket website

2010-06-28 20:39

Cape Town – A US-based website has come under fire from FIFA after launching a ticket transfer portal for World Cup fans who want to buy and resell their tickets.

A spokesperson for the website, socoza.com, who said they had already received two warning letters from the world football body, has dismissed the allegations.

"We are not breaking any rules," South African-based legal adviser Joel Shoot told News24, explaining that the website did not actually sell any tickets but provided a platform for fans to communicate with each other and exchange tickets. This, he said, excluded them from FIFA regulations.

"It is unfortunate that FIFA takes a dogmatic attitude in regard to working with others. Third parties could help fill the seats," Shoot said.

FIFA has in the past days raised concern about the number of empty seats at World Cup stadiums, even at matches where tickets are sold out.

Shoot said, however, that FIFA was largely responsible for the empty seats.

"They have created a problem with rules that are unworkable in everyday practice," he said.

One of FIFA's rules regarding ticket sales is that transfers have to get written consent from FIFA and the source of the tickets should be authorised by FIFA.

Shoot said transfers were helpful to fans whose teams did worse or better than expected in the tournament, mentioning the English and US fans as an example after the two teams produced unexpected results in group C.

England, considered the better of the two, came second while the Americans surprised all coming out tops, meaning that people who bought their tickets thinking England would win ended up at the wrong match.

"They were all sitting there with tickets for the wrong game," said Shoot adding that this was because of FIFA's "short-sightedness".

Selective enforcement

He said demand for exchanges on those games and from German fans who have become interested in the tournament following their team's 4-1 victory over England had been high.

"FIFA is not losing out, they have already sold the tickets, it is SA that is losing revenue with foreign fans unable to come here," he said.

He also accused FIFA of selective enforcement as there were ticket brokers who, unlike socoza.com, were actually selling tickets.

American companies Razorgator and eBay-owned StubHub, who can get up to 15% of the amount received for a ticket sold on their websites, are two of them.

"I'd like to see FIFA take on eBay. They would not take FIFA’s demands seriously because ticket brokering is a well established and respectable enterprise. FIFA is demonising the industry, and they are being disingenuous," said Shoot.

Registration on socoza.com is free, but a $13 (about R100) fee is payable to read email from other users.

"We are hosting a multi billion rand event and we have to deal with this system," Shoot said.


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