Blatter still concerned over World Cup ticketing problem

By Mike Collett

LONDON- FIFA president Sepp Blatter said on Monday he was still concerned that German government demands over ticketing security could lead to chaos at the World Cup finals, which start next month.

The German Interior Ministry are insist

ing that all ticket-holders present identification at the stadium to prove they are the same people as those whose names appear on the tickets.

This rule at present, however, does not allow a fan to give a relative or friend a ticket if he or she was unable to go to a game for any reason.

Talks held between FIFA and the German authorities on Friday failed to resolve the issue and Blatter could not hide his concern when he met a group of British-based reporters in London on Monday.

“We only have four weeks to resolve this problem,” he said.

“I can only imagine problems with fans queuing up to go in, holding a ticket and unable to get in. We do not want to have half-empty stadiums with fans outside, refused entry to the match.

“The German authorities are insisting on knowing who is in the stadium, that the fans are safe and secure and so every fan must go to the match with personal ID to prove they are a respected person. We can understand that.

“But on the other hand there is the question of data protection, of fans having to give personal information about themselves. The German authorities are uncomfortable with the situation, and so FIFA is uncomfortable with the situation.”

Two weeks ago in Zurich, Blatter said he was optimistic that there would be some flexibility on this issue while FIFA general secretary Urs Linsi expressed his concerns that there could be serious problems outside the stadiums if fans turned up with tickets but incorrect identification at the security gates.

Blatter re-iterated this view on Monday and said the same rules would apply to members of the public as well as corporate guests to the matches.

He also said he was “trusting the German authorities” to ensure their borders were safe for the finals amid growing and widespread reports that gangs of hooligans from Poland, Ukraine, Serbia, the Netherlands and England were planning to travel to Germany and cause trouble.

“You can never guarantee 100 percent security,” he said, “but I am optimistic that people will come to the World Cup to enjoy themselves and not cause trouble.”

The finals begin on June 9 and end on July 9. — Reuter

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