LONDON- Hundreds of British schoolchildren whose dreams of going to a World Cup game in Germany were shattered by an international ticket scam will now get to see a match, the government said on Wednesday.
FIFA will supply quarter-final tickets to some 350 pupils who wer
e left devastated at the weekend after travelling to Germany, only to find their match tickets did not exist.
The children, aged 11 to 16, and some of their parents paid about 400 pounds each to a UK-based agency and an Internet site for their trip.
Police said the pupils had been stung by a 60,000 pound ticket fraud and that a woman was arrested on Wednesday.
Sports minister Richard Caborn personally lobbied FIFA President Sepp Blatter, and UK Premier League Chairman Dave Richards also stepped in to ensure the pupils could see a game.
“We were all upset at how devastated the children were when they were turned away from matches after falling victim to a World Cup ticket scam through no fault of their own,” Caborn said in a statement on Wednesday.
“I am delighted that 350 young football fans will now have the time of their lives at the World Cup,” he added.
Caborn said other sponsors would help get the out-of-pocket children to the matches, which could include an England game if the squad beats Ecuador to make it into the quarter-finals.
Thames Valley police said most of the tickets were ordered through an Internet site that was “totally fraudulent and no tickets ever existed.”
The woman, in her 40s, had been arrested in Slough on suspicion of obtaining money by deception. — Reuter