27 Jan 2009

Fifa 2010 organisers concerned matches won't sell out

8:39 am on 27 January 2009

Organisers of the 2010 Fifa World Cup have expressed concerns that stadiums will not be full during the tournament and have urged South African fans to break their habit of buying tickets on game day.

Football games rarely sell out in Africa, making it relatively easy for fans to buy tickets at the gate.

But doing so during the World Cup, which begins on June 11th, 2010, will see many South Africans shut out and deal a blow to hopes that the tournament will have a heavy African influence in the stands. It is the first time the World Cup will be held in Africa.

FIFA President Sepp Blatter says the global financial crisis would not have a significant impact on the World Cup, though he added that the tournament might not be as profitable as the 2006 championship in Germany.

South Africa has vowed to finish building all 10 stadiums for the World Cup on time although the cost will be more than initially forecast, due partly to a weaker rand currency and higher construction costs.

South Africa expects 450,000 visitors for the World Cup and hopes the finals will spur tourism and investment in Africa's richest economy.