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Sports

First World Cup 2014 tickets go on sale

The first batch of tickets for the 2014 World Cup in Brazil have gone on sale, 295 days before the tournament kicks off. FIFA officials are hoping for demand comparable to the 2006 tournament in Germany.

Fans could on Tuesday apply for their tickets to the World Cup on the website of world football's governing body FIFA. The first phase of ticket sales for the 2014 World Cup began at 10.00 GMT; but fans did not need to race to the website. All requests submitted before October 10 will be entered into a random selection draw in the likely event of demand exceeding supply.

FIFA hopes for demand comparable to the 2006 World Cup in Germany, outstripping the 2010 competition in South Africa. More than 3.3 million fans attended the 2006 tournament, while just under 2 million swept through the 2010 turnstiles. Roughly 3.3 million tickets are expected to be available for next summer's World Cup.

"It's always difficult to predict," FIFA marketing director Thierry Weil said in Sao Paulo on Monday. "But I truly believe that it will be more toward what happened in Germany than in South Africa. We believe there will be a huge demand for this World Cup. But again, we will see after the opening."

At the request of the Brazilian government, special discount tickets will be available to less wealthy home fans for 47 of the 48 group stage matches - excluding the swanky opening fixture that will involve Brazil. People over 60, local students and members of some social programs qualify for the cut rate.

Buying blind, before the games are decided

Traveling supporters will have to part with at least $90 (67.5 euros) for group stage tickets. Entry to the final at the Maracana Stadium in Rio de Janeiro will cost between $440 and $990.

Any tickets that go unsold in the first round will be made available - this time on a first-come-first-served basis - on November 5. Another phase of ticket sales will begin on December 8. By this point, the World Cup qualifiers and the group stage draw will be complete - meaning fans will have a better idea of which teams they are paying to see. People bidding for tickets on Tuesday will know only the date and venue for a given game, not the countries competing.

Under FIFA rules, each household that bids for tickets can seek up to four seats at up to seven games during the month-long competition. Owing to queues and chaos at ticket collection booths during this summer's Confederations Cup in Brazil, FIFA will for the first time offer home delivery - at the customer's costs - of World Cup tickets.

msh/jm (AP, dpa, SID)