Need World Cup finals tickets and clarification of rules
March 23, 2010 5:44 PM   Subscribe

How can I get World Cup finals and semis tickets, and can they be purchased from someone outside my country?

I think I might be dense because I cannot determine this from FIFA's website.

I'm an American with a dream of going to SA for the last few games of the Cup. My friend in SA has offered to get us tickets. But two problems:

1) We don't know if Americans are allowed to gain entry with tickets purchased by a South African, since tickets are reserved according to country.

2) Are there semis & finals tickets even available? When you create an account at FIFA's website and enter your country code, does it display availability accordingly? Of course that takes me back to problem #1....

My SA friend is offline for the next 2 days & it's somewhat urgent I work out the logistics and plane tickets ASAP. Thanks for any advice you've got!
posted by deern the headlice to Sports, Hobbies, & Recreation (5 answers total)
Best answer: Ah, FIFA ticketing! So frustrating. So opaque.

There are two portals for ticket purchases during this "fourth" stage, which ends April 7: the general site and the Supporters site. If you go through the US Supporters site you will only be able to purchase tickets to U.S. matches. This was intended to give fans of particular countries first dibs on their teams' games, and originally you had to have a special code from U.S. Soccer to access this portal. Now, I think, it's open to anyone, since demand was not as high as expected (except for US-England).

The general ticketing portal is open to anyone, though South Africans order separately inside that portal, because pricing is a bit different (there are blocks of low-priced tickets--Category 4--set aside specifically for South Africans). Once you are in and have created an account, you choose from a drop-down menu of available games.

When you make your selection, you then enter details for yourself and your "guests"--the others in your party--including passport number. It's my understanding that guests do not have to be from the same country as the purchaser, except maybe if you are South African and buying those special low-priced Category 4 tickets. So if your SA friend buys match tickets he should be able to give you one.

Note, too, that in Germany in 2006 there were all kinds of rules set up beforehand regarding passport numbers printed on tickets and microchips implanted in the ticket, meant to combat scalping. The fear among fans was that ticket-takers would be checking tickets against passports at the gate and turning away fans whose tickets didn't have their correct passport number. In reality, of course, this was utterly impractical, and there were no checks other than a scan to ensure the ticket wasn't a forgery. My guess is it will be the same in SA—as long as your ticket is real, you'll get into the match no matter where you're from.

At the moment I'm not seeing either of the semifinals or the final available on the drop-down menu. Those matches may be sold out. On the other hand, games do reappear on occasion as new tickets are released to the public (give-backs from sponsors or tour groups, for instance) so you can check back regularly to see if those matches pop back up. The final will be a hard ticket to come by, as will the Cape Town semi. The matches in Cape Town sold out very quickly, since it's the destination most tourists wanted to travel to.

Good luck!
posted by stargell at 11:20 PM on March 23, 2010

If your friend buys the tickets that have been specifically allocated to South Africans then you may have problems using them. These are clearly stated when they are purchased. Your friend can choose the normal tickets and those would be fine. I think though that the purchaser has to be one of the attendees, to transfer them to someone else you might need to go through some extra steps.

I wasn't aware that the rest of the tickets have also been allocated by country. I think besides, the special local tickets (which you couldn't use anyway), the rest of the tickets are available to everyone equally.

I am not sure of the availability for the semis and finals. I would suggest you just buy the tickets yourself through the Fifa site. I don't think your friend will have any advantage over you for the general tickets.
posted by Gomez_in_the_South at 11:23 PM on March 23, 2010

Also, I should note that in additional to individual match tickets you can buy Team Specific Tickets (TSTs) through the main portal, allowing you to follow a team for as far as it goes in the tournament. TSTs for anything beyond the first three matches are conditional, of course. A TST7 would take you all the way to the final with that team. At the moment there are no TSTs for many of the favorites—Brazil, Spain, England, Italy—nor are there any for the U.S.
posted by stargell at 11:36 PM on March 23, 2010

As far as I understand, with a TST-7 you would get one semifinal and the final even if your team is eliminated early on in the tournament. I have TST-7 for team USA, so I'm counting on this.

From FIFA:
If your team is eliminated and your TST Series includes rounds after your team has been eliminated, your TST will remain valid to follow the team that progresses into the next round of the competition as indicated below.
posted by rochi at 6:56 AM on March 24, 2010

Good lord, Rochi, it looks like you're right. In the past there were "fixed" and "conditional" TSTs. I guess there's only one kind this time around. So if you're willing to shell out for, say, a Slovakia or a Uruguay TST7 you'll get to see a round of 16, quarter, semi and the final.
posted by stargell at 7:33 PM on March 24, 2010

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