The coming weeks are sure to see some disgruntled soccer fans. Organizers for the 2006 World Cup announced Monday that only a third of the tournament tickets will be up for sale to the general public.
Will genuine soccer fans be left ticketless?
"We are going to get some disappointed people," Franz Beckenbauer, president of the organizing committee told a news conference. "There's no way to avoid that."
The majority of the 3.37 million tickets for 64 World Cup games in 12 German stadiums will go to national soccer associations, sponsors, the media, VIPs and German soccer officials.
That leaves 812,000 tickets, ranging from €35 ($45) for a first round ticket to €600 ($782) for the most expensive final ticket, free for the rest of the world.
First ticketing phase begins on Feb. 1
Beginning Feb. 1, soccer fans will be able to log on to www.fifaworldcup.com and apply for tickets until March 31. Since demand is expected to exceed supply, soccer's world governing body will hold a lottery on April 15 to dispense the tickets. World Cup organizers advised fans to take their time and review the group schedule because filling out applications since being early won't increase chances of getting the tickets.
Schedules won't help much, though. Germany, as host, is the only country so far to qualify, making the first round match parings, never mind the quarterfinals, impossible to predict.
After the first session of sales, a second lot of 300,000 tickets -- again on a lottery basis -- will be ready for allocation from Dec. 1 to Jan. 15, 2006.
Any tickets left over from the first round of sales will be available on a first-come, first-serve basis until Nov. 15, 2005. Remaining tickets from the second lot will be on sale until April 15, 2006. There aren't expected to be many.
"There has never been so great a demand for World Cup tickets," said Urs Linsi, the general secretary of FIFA.
Beckenbauer: "some disappointed people."
Organizers guess that up to 30 million people will apply for tickets. Of the more than 3 million tickets, 260,000 will be of the cheapest variety, costing from €35 to €120 for the final.
Of the tickets already promised, Linsi said he hoped unwanted tickets would be returned to FIFA as soon as possible so that they could go to people that wanted them. Officials seem to want to avoid the malady that has plagued past tournaments, like the 2002 World Cup and the European Championships last summer in Portugal, where large blocs of seats -- allocated to various national soccer associations -- were empty.
"Not every seat was filled at the last World Cup even when the matches were sold out," Linsi said, according to Reuters. "That was very frustrating."
Each ticket will look like an airline ticket, with the applicant's name on it. The applicant will have to attend the game, as the tickets aren't transferable.
For the first time, a small microchip on the ticket containing access information, but no personal data, will guard against forgeries and the black market.