Sponsors tickets may go to fans at next World Cup

From 2010, the world football body, FIFA, may reduce the number of World Cup tickets available to sponsors to provide more for supporters of the participating national teams. A growing backlash against the perceived unfairness of the ticket allocation system for next month's World Cup in Germany is causing FIFA to review its policy. Currently, the teams share 8 percent of available tickets, FIFA's sponsors 16 percent and 11 percent are sold as part of hospitality packages. However the right of each of FIFA's 15 sponsors to buy 25,000 World Cup tickets is considered to be a key factor in keeping up the value of the FIFA sponsorship fees which fund the development of the game worldwide.

"The entire ticketing policy for the World Cup will be reviewed and revised after Germany," an un-named FIFA official told Denis Campbell of The Observer (UK), "There's a genuine interest to increase the 8 percent that goes to each of the 32 countries taking part. There will be a shift in the allocation of tickets going to different segments of the market which will increase the 8 percent. That 8 percent figure will go up. I'm certain that will be the case."

Franz Beckenbauer, the president of Germany's 2006 World Cup Organising Committee, is concerned that some games in Germany may not be full because the tournament's sponsors have not used all their 16 percent allocation. "I hope the sponsors make the most of their tickets," he told Germany's Tagesspiegel.

However there is arguement as to what percentage should be allocated in future to the teams. England head coach Sven-Goran Eriksson, English Premier League chief Richard Scudamore and players' union boss Gordon Taylor, see 8 percent as far too little, particularly when compared to UEFA's allocation of 18 percent to teams in the European Championship.

According to Campbell, FIFA will be helped in making changes "by the fact that it is regaining control over ticketing for 2010, after major tension with the 2006 Organising Committee, and reducing its number of sponsors from 15 to six. Those six may want fewer than the 490,000 seats which firms such as Adidas and Budweiser have been allowed to buy for Germany," he wrote.

See also: FIFA facing World Cup ticketing and swaps issues (13 Apr)