World Cup ticket orders heavily oversubscribed
BERLIN, Jan 13 (Reuters) - Orders for 250,000 tickets for this year's World Cup in Germany on offer in the final sales window are set to be oversubscribed about 18 times, organisers said on Friday, two days before applications close.
Preliminary figures show some 535,000 orders for 4.5 million tickets have been placed so far in the third sales period, which opened on Dec. 12 and is due to run until midnight on Sunday, the Organising Committee said in a statement.
Balloting to decide who gets the tickets is scheduled for Jan. 31 before allocations are announced in early February. The order in which ticket requests is received will make no difference to the allocation process.
"Despite the enormous interest, those applying in the remaining two days do have a realistic chance of getting a FIFA World Cup ticket," Organising Committee vice president Horst Schmidt said in a statement.
Organisers said 89 percent of orders came from Europe, of which 53 percent were from Germany but, overall, orders had come from 197 countries.
The strong demand for tickets came despite recent controversy in Germany over stadium safety after a consumer watchdog criticised the state of preparedness of several grounds in which matches are due to be played.
As well as the final in Berlin on July 9, first round matches between Germany and Poland (Dortmund, June 14), Brazil and Australia (Munich, June 18), Sweden and England (Cologne, June 20) and Netherlands and Argentina (Frankfurt, June 21) have been particularly heavily oversubscribed.
Five first round ties are not yet overbooked: Tunisia v Saudi Arabia (Munich, June 14), Saudi Arabia v Ukraine (Hamburg, June 19), Paraguay v Trinidad & Tobago (Kaiserslautern, June 20), Iran vs Angola (Leipzig, June 21) and Ukraine v Tunisia (Berlin, June 23).
The World Cup begins in Munich on June 9 and features 32 teams playing a total of 64 matches at 12 venues across Germany, culminating in the final at the Olympic Stadium.