The 2006 World Cup in Germany is attracting major interest from fans around the globe, all wanting to get their hands on tickets for the games. Here DW-WORLD answers some frequently asked questions.
The sky's the limit: World Cup tickets vary wildly in price
The World Cup 2006 in Germany is one of the hottest events on the horizon in the world of sport. Unfortunately, however, ticket allocation for the upcoming games is a potentially heart-breaking process. With millions of fans wanting to get a piece of the live action, DW-WORLD offers its readers an insight into the minefield that is buying a World Cup ticket.
Q: Where do I get the tickets?
A: Well, officially, on the FIFA Website -- www.fifaworldcup.com -- and only there. FIFA is warning that offers of tickets combined with travel arrangements which are not affiliated with supporters' organizations or the world soccer governing body itself cannot be taken seriously. There are less credible and less legal ways to get tickets (see below) that DW-WORLD does not advocate.
Q: How do I get a ticket?
A: Applications must be completed online and paid for by credit card. In Germany, you can pay via bank transfer or debit card as long as you hold a German bank account.
Q: Can one also order by telephone?
A. Yes. After the conditions for ticket sales were announced in January, a phone line was set up offering automated instruction in German, English, French and Spanish. Individual questions cannot be answered. Telephone: 00 49 (0) 180 526 2006
Q: How many tickets can I order?
A: Four tickets per household per game -- from the qualifying round up to the final and only seven tickets per customer.
Q: When can I start buying tickets?
A: The first phase of official sales begins on Feb. 1, 2005 exclusively on the FIFA Website. An important point to note is that the precise date of ordering within the first sales phase is immaterial. Applications will not be processed chronologically, but rather via a lottery at the end of the first phase. There should be a second round of ticket sales in summer 2005.
Q: How many tickets are going on sale?
A: Too few, we're afraid. To get tickets for the World Cup, one must not be quick but be lucky. Officially there are 3.2 million tickets for the World Cup in Germany with 800,000 available in the host country itself. And remember, not all of them will go on sale at the same time. Just half will become available form the opening date of sales. And as with all sporting events, not all the tickets are allocated to the everyday fan.
Q: What happens to the other tickets then?
A: Tickets are held back not only for the associations contesting the 2006 finals but also for the associations which fail to qualify. Blocks of tickets are also set aside for the official partners, official suppliers and the TV partners. In total, that could represent a good 450,000 tickets for sponsors and the FIFA organizations. It should be borne in mind that many of these tickets are then used in promotional activity and prize competitions, so that a substantial number of tickets does return to the ordinary fans. Then there are those that are not claimed and returned for sale. These will also eventually make their way into the public domain.
Q: How much can I expect to pay?
A: Match ticket prices were announced in December 2003, ranging from €35 for category 4 seats at the 47 group matches to €600, the most expensive category 1 ticket for the Final. VIP's tickets, of course, can totally eclipse these prices with the added extras that come along with them. Possibly the premium package for Berlin includes tickets for five games plus the final for four people with additional private parking space, separate entrance to the stadium and gourmet food all for a princely €48,000.
Q: Can I get tickets through any other channels?
A: In principle, yes. FIFA are very strict on the flow of tickets and tickets allocated by name must be presented by the bearer whose name appears on the card. Those who cannot prove that they are the bearer will be ejected from the ground or barred entry. FIFA is also trying its best to control the flow of black market tickets on Internet auction sites like eBay and similar punishments for holders of tickets bought this way can be expected.
But, if you have a strong nerve, and good luck, there are always tickets to be had outside the stadiums on match day. Touts will, however, be more than aware of the demand and tickets will be extortionate in comparison to those garnered through legitimate channels. It is unlikely to be a buyer's market like the European Championships where semi-final tickets were reportedly passing hands for as little as €5.
Q: Does anyone know which team will play when and where?
A: Only the German team has an itinerary at the moment because, as hosts, they are the only ones who are guaranteed to be there come summer 2006. Germany opens the tournament in the first game on the June 9 in Munich, and plays its other group games on June 14 in Dortmund and June 20 in Berlin. All other teams must still qualify. The draw for the group stages for the finals will take place in December in Leipzig once all the qualifiers are known.