It might seem quite a long way off, but ticket sales for the 2010 World Cup in South Africa are starting on Friday, Feb. 20. In a historic move, discounted rates will be available to South Africans.
Ticket sales have kicked off
Normal ticket prices range from $80 (64 euros) for group stages to a princely $900 (715 euros) for the final.
The organizing body FIFA has said it is hopeful that the event, which runs from June 11 to July 11 next year would be a sell-out despite the world recession.
"We are anticipating an oversubscription of tickets. Our aim is to create a fair distribution system," said FIFA ticketing committe chairman David Will ahead of Friday's official opening of applications.
Carrot for stadium construction workers
Construction workers will be rewarded
For the first time in the history of the world's top football event, FIFA has set aside 120,000 discounted tickets for South African residents, including 40,000 free tickets for stadium construction workers.
The deadline for completion of all 10 stadiums is October 15. Three are already considerably behind schedule.
Tickets will be sold through FIFA's website and via bank branches in South Africa. From a total stock of around three million tickets, some 740,000 will be available in the first phase, which runs until April 15.
"I'd be a very stupid person to say there will not be any effect on the World Cup from the global recession but the problem is we don't know just how big an impact it will have on the World Cup," David Will, chairman of the FIFA's World Cup ticketing committee, told a media briefing on Wednesday.
The 2010 World Cup is the first to ever take place in Africa
But he added: "The footballing public are a very peculiar group and they might not be too bothered about the global recession or even losing their jobs to go and follow their teams at the World Cup. It is our aim to sell every ticket in every stadium for every match."
For the 2006 World Cup finals in Germany there were 20 million requests during the first sales phases, said former German Football Federation general secretary Horst Schmidt, who also attended Wednesday's briefing.
Staggered ticket sales
You don't have to see the games in a stadium to enjoy them
In the initial sales stage that starts on Friday, Feb. 20, tickets will be allocated on the basis of a random selection draw, but successful applicants will not actually be issued with the actual documents until April next year. There will also be a first come first served phase and last minute sales.
One person is allowed to apply for only four tickets per game for a maximum of seven matches. A ticket applicant may not apply for two matches on the same day.
Tickets go on sale through FIFA's website www.fifa.org starting Friday at 1100 GMT.