May 21st, 2010
11:34 AM GMT
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The Foreign Correspondent’s Association of Southern Africa organized a lunch with Jerome Valcke this week. Fifty reporters who work for non–South African media gathered at a Johannesburg hotel to ask the FIFA general secretary questions about the World Cup.

The most interesting things he had to say referred to the ticketing system. Valcke admitted that it was disappointing that more Africans hadn’t bought tickets. Only 40000 people from the rest of Africa would be travelling to South Africa for the World Cup, he said.

The reasons? He conceded that tickets might be too expensive for most Africans. The ticket prices are the same price as the 2006 World Cup in Germany. Also, FIFA has realized selling tickets over the Internet has been a difficult and complicated process for most Africans because Internet penetration is low on the continent. He said FIFA was looking at changing the whole ticketing process for the 2014 World Cup in Brazil.

He said 2.865 million tickets were available for this year’s World Cup and 90 percent of them have been sold so far. FIFA is concerned about illegal ticket touts making money out of black market sales of tickets.

So they are working with Interpol, which has set up a taskforce dealing specifically with this crime. Valcke says they are less interested in the lone guy outside the stadium gates trying to make a fast buck on his handful of tickets. Instead, they are concerned about crime syndicates hacking into their computers systems and stealing ticketing information.

He also touched on the controversy around the number of visitors expected to come to South Africa. Valcke said FIFA never said 450,000 to 500,000 football fans would come to South Africa, he said that number was an estimate put out by the South African authorities. Recently, that number has been significantly downgraded – only 150,000 to 250 000 foreign visitors are expected over the World Cup.

One journalist asked him how FIFA dealt with the negative image they have in South Africa because the football body is viewed as "bullying" and "taking over the country." Valcke was pragmatic, he said FIFA were the "gatekeepers of football" and so they didn’t have to be "nice" all the time.

He said they weren’t taking over the whole of South Africa, "just a little bit of it."

soundoff (10 Responses)
  1. Mpho Molepo

    Feel it , is here ..say whatever you wanna say about our can talk about Crime anything..but the of the matter is African will be hosting a world cup for very first all the haters ...nothing will stop us not even your bad publicity...

    May 25, 2010 at 11:46 am |
  2. Publius Ovid Naso

    Yeah. And at the rate it's going, it may be the last time an African country hosts the cup. An African world cup with only a sliver of an African supporter presence? And less visitors than expected (leading to a knock-on of less revenue for local business)?

    This cup is a running away train...and the people responsible have long jumped to safety.

    May 26, 2010 at 5:44 am |
  3. Felipao Salas

    In my opinion no third world country should host the Worl Cup. Good luck to South Africa! I hope they do a good job.

    May 27, 2010 at 5:49 pm |
  4. Deface

    It was very short-sighted of FIFA to sell tickets in Africa for that amount of money. So blame it on FIFA and not Africa... South Africa is beautiful, and for everyone out there who are going to miss this opportunity it is really really sad – with definitely a touch of ignorance..

    May 28, 2010 at 4:11 pm |
  5. Freedom19

    The price of tickets are not the problem. It is the stupid FIFA ticketing system. But not a word said about that.

    May 31, 2010 at 10:36 am |
  6. Suraje

    South Africa is well capable of hosting any major event. Also, it is not a "Thirs World Country" it is known as a "Developing Country"!!!

    To all you haters – Sit back, relax and enjoy Africa host the World cup!!!

    June 3, 2010 at 8:24 pm |
  7. neu92

    The price of tickets are not the problem.

    June 5, 2010 at 10:43 am |
  8. michel de rauville

    Third world ,my foot. The apartheid regime left SA amongst the most advanced nations on earth that not even the present incompetent goverment has been able to completely destroy. They would have been able to host the world cup with one weeks notice.

    June 7, 2010 at 3:55 pm |
  9. African

    Hope it is not too late to comment on this article. Curse on FIFA ticketing system and hell evermore. Last I checked Africa was the continent with the least penetration of credit card, internet, telephone, computer and what else, please add......
    Now selling tickets over the internet was the ideal way to keep africans away for the europian world cup. Fifa did it deliberately so that 45% of tickets would have gone unsold to definetely have solid arguments to discard africa for never host their game in future.

    June 8, 2010 at 11:50 am |
  10. Elma

    FIFA thought they had all the answers – the ticket system was disgusting. and they refused to move the tournament to spring – it is all about money – nothing else. However I hope SA will show the world and that we will have a fantastic world cup.

    June 8, 2010 at 6:51 pm |

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