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Fans pile online for World Cup tickets

Fans pile online for World Cup tickets

Fans around the world have bombarded the 2006 World Cup Website in the final hours of initial ticket sales, with demand already having outstripped supply.

"We knew before the start of the ticket sale that there would be more applications than available tickets.... demand in the last days has been steadily rising," said organising committee vice-president Horst R. Schmidt on Thursday.

The initial two-month sales period, where 812,000 tickets were available, ended at midnight (2200 GMT).

Some 5.4 million ticket applications had already been made, over six times as many as the number available. About 1.5 million had been submitted in the previous seven days alone.

Tickets will be allocated by means of a lottery at the end of the period, rather than on a "first come, first served" basis, though fans' chances of fully satisfying their wishes remain slim because of the heavy over subscription.

Demand has been greatest for the final on July 9 and the opening game on June 9, likely to feature hosts Germany, the only team guaranteed to have qualified.

Organisers said tickets for a number of group matches still remained, although fans will not know the participating teams until the draw on December 9.

Fans have been able to apply for a limited number of tickets in the first sales window to follow a particular team throughout the 32-nation tournament. If the chosen team does not qualify, or goes out of the tournament, refunds will be made.

The lottery will take place from April 15 and successful applicants should have tickets by early May. Any unsold tickets will be available for sale from May 1 to November 15.

A further lottery-based sale will take place from December 1 to January 15, 2006, with any remaining tickets offered from February 1 to April 15 in order of application.

Any last-minute sales will take place from May 2006.

Organisers are promising a further 300,000 tickets for fans in these subsequent sales, taking the total to just over 1.1 million tickets guaranteed for public sale out of the 2.93 million available.

National associations, sponsors, media, and VIPs are offered the rest. Any unused tickets go back on public sale.

FIFA is keen to avoid the areas of empty seating in South Korea and Japan in 2002 even at matches supposedly sold out and will seek to re-sell unwanted tickets on match days.

Organisers said 85 percent of applicants were based in Germany and 90 percent in Europe. Applications have been made from over 190 countries, including Burkina Faso and Macao.

Ticket prices vary from 35 euros for the group phase to 600 euros for the best seats at the final.

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