Thursday Kicks: Galaxy, RSL & another World Cup ticket fiasco

*Reporter Phil Collin talked to the Galaxy player who can’t stop scoring and another who won’t let anyone else score in this story.

*Real Salt Lake will be without three regular starters when they visit the Galaxy Saturday.

*Want more proof the organizers of this World Cup have no clue what they’re doing? Check this out:

JOHANNESBURG (AP) — Police were called to a World Cup ticket center in South Africa on Thursday as FIFA’s attempt to boost sluggish ticket sales ended with fans angered by delays caused by technical difficulties.

A crowd gathered at the entrance to the ticketing center in Cape Town, one of 11 centers which opened countrywide Thursday, and chanted and yelled at organizers. Police were called to keep them calm.

i-c6900a71899796128d1f93d60878fb3c-SAtickets.jpgFans wait in line to purchase World Cup tickets at the Maponya Mall in Soweto, South Africa, Thursday (AP Photo).

After 3 hours, only 32 people out of a crowd of about 1,000 had managed to buy tickets.

“No one’s informed us what’s going on. No one’s directing the public outside. A primary school sports event could be better organized than this,” said Theo Spangenberg, who had been waiting for 16 hours and still hadn’t made it inside the newly opened ticketing center.

“For a World Cup, an international event of this nature, it’s a really, really bad show.”

The carnival atmosphere at the start of the day, as fans across the country were given a first chance to buy some of the 500,000 tickets still available, quickly disappeared in Cape Town. About 300 tickets for the final were to be sold on a first-come first-served basis.

Fans inside the ticketing center slept on the floor as they waited to be served.

A representative from Match, the company employed by FIFA to run the ticket process, blamed technical problems and said she could not guarantee that every person would be helped Thursday.

“I can understand there’s a lot of frustrated people outside, and we have experienced some teething problems, since it is our first day,” Christa Venter said. “The IT guys are well aware of the problem. Obviously it is a timely process, since we are experiencing quite high volumes at this stage countrywide.”

Local media also reported crowd scuffles at the ticket office in Pretoria. Earlier in Cape Town, a 64-year-old man died of an apparent heart attack, but it was not related to the problems at the ticket office.

The ticket centers opened across the country at 9 a.m. for the last phase of sales. Thousands of fans lined up outside the Maponya shopping mall in Soweto — near where the opening game and the final will be held at Soccer City.

FIFA ticket center manager Richard Lalla said the final tickets would last “a few minutes,” but that was enough time for Malin Fisher, a 32-year-old trainee church minister, who spent more than 10,000 rands ($1,370) on six tickets, including two for soccer’s biggest game.

Fisher was first through the doors after queuing overnight and said it was “an incredible feeling” to have tickets.

“There are no words (to describe it). I’ve spent a couple of rands but it’s all worth it,” he said while holding his tickets up for photographers and TV cameras. “The Internet and applying was a bit frustrating but to be able to buy World Cup final tickets over the counter, that was amazing.”

Fisher is one of many South Africans to be frustrated by FIFA’s initial online process, which did not work for local supporters who are not used to buying tickets for soccer games on the Internet. Many are on low incomes and have no access to the Internet and no credit cards.

“I didn’t even bother to go onto the Internet to buy because it was a waste of time to me,” Nodoimpela Dlamini said as he waited patiently outside Maponya Mall. “Most of my colleagues who had applied through the Internet had been refused and actually couldn’t get tickets.

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About Nick Green

South Bay-based Los Angeles News Group soccer columnist and blogger Nick Green writes at the 100 Percent Soccer blog at www.insidesocal.com/soccer and craft beer at the Beer Goggles blog at www.insidesocal.com/beer. Cheers!
  • http://www.insidesocal.com/soccer Nick Green

    I’d be more understanding if the ticket company had disclosed their technical difficulties to those waiting in line, which judging by the comments in the story didn’t occur.

    It’s a pet peeve of mine that entities – whether it’s a government, corporation, church or whatever -often don’t provide information when something goes wrong, thereby making a bad situation worse.

    In contrast, the problems I encountered at the first-ever Galaxy game at the Rose Bowl were mainly my fault (not buying tickets in advance, for instance).

  • Studs Up

    Give the South Africans a break. I remember standing in line for 3 hours for Olympic soccer tickets in ’84 with a lot of people upset. How about LA Philharmonics fiasco early this summer for Dudamel’s free outing at the Hollywood Bowl. Put things in perspective when you decide to dump on other people. You ought to know better having just re-counted Galaxy’s first game at the Rose Bowl in ’96.