So FIFA have decided to act upon the investigation by Radio 5Live into touting of World Cup Finals tickets. I will not be holding my breath to see any outcome to this given that is FIFA are the ones who have created the problems in the first place with their “original” ticketing policy. The process has been described as a lottery although I suspect that the odds of winning the Lottery are better than those trying to (a) guess where England would be playing once they had qualified and (b) trying to get a ticket through the draw.
The process is strewn with errors that are so fundamental that it is hardly surprising that the Black Market is thriving for this tournament. Firstly, why do the countries get an equal share of the capacity? With all due respect to teams such as Paraguay, Costa Rica, Angola, etc., they will not have as many travelling supporters as England will for example. Why therefore are they entitled to 8% of the capacity? England could comfortably sell that total of tickets on their own. Indeed, it begs the question as to why only 16% of the capacity is available for supporters of the competing nations? FIFA no doubt would argue that this protects the integrity of the tournament by not favouring countries such as England by creating a biased atmosphere in their favour. Unfortunately, this is not the case with many England fans expected to attend having purchased their tickets from touts. The much vaunted security methods in preventing this are, politely speaking, simplistic. There will not be enough time for the German police to check every ticket before every match – I can confidently predict that England supporters will turn up en masse in the last 20 to 30 minutes before kick-off and expect to get in. For safety reasons, this will lead to people being waved through as there is no chance of the TV companies, sponsors or FIFA themselves allowing kick-off to be delayed as in FIFA speak, money talks the loudest.
Unquestionably the biggest source of tickets will be the Corporate Sponsors who are based in countries who do not have a direct interest in the Competition through failure to qualify or geography. One example given in the 5Live Report was tickets being sold in London that were originally allotted to a sponsor based in Canada. The time has come for the Corporate greed to be placed on the back foot and the number of tickets given to these companies to be reduced to no more than 5% of the capacity of the ground and any companies who are found to be the source of tickets bought from touts, to be blacklisted and their entire allocation be taken away and sold to supporters from the competing nations. FIFA would argue that this would have a negative impact on the sale of Corporate deals that are instrumental in generating cash that is ultimately invested in footballs. The sane view would be that the sponsors would then tighten up on their own internal procedures and prevent employees from selling the tickets. For example, I would imagine that the CEO of Mastercard would be furious if they lost their ticket allocation because one rogue employee had been found to sell a ticket illegally. They may as a Corporation decide that they do not wish to sponsor FIFA events again. Well, that is a loss FIFA should be prepared to take on the chin, as I cannot believe that there is not a queue of businesses that would be willing to take their place.
Ruud van Nistelrooy is the subject of media speculation about his future this morning following his world record attempt at collecting the largest number of splinters in his arse by sitting on the bench yesterday. Depending on which rag you read, he took it well or had a bust-up with Lord of the Sith, Darth Fergie and his future is assured at the Old Trafford Disneydome or he’ll be sold after the World Cup. One thing that should be without question is as to why he had a long face. It’s not because he was miffed at missing the match, merely that he was born with it. After all, what carthorse isn’t?
Today’s tunes are from a leading band of the Paisley Underground of the 1980’s, The Long Ryders. Devoted descendants of Gram Parsons and The Byrds, they were commercially unappreciated over here but well thought of Stateside. Sid Griffin has continued to push his heritage with The Coal Porters and Western Electric since their untimely demise. There are more of these tracks at www.sidgriffin.com for you to enjoy, or buy their Greatest Hits package here