SWC ticket apology for SA fans
Johannesburg - FIFA's World Cup ticketing partner has apologised to South Africans on Friday after computer glitches marred the first day of direct ticket sales, government media reported.
"We want to extend our apologies to the general public, who tried to obtain tickets, and we want to thank them for their patience and understanding," said Jaime Byrom of MATCH, FIFA's ticketing partner.
"We have already been able to identify the challenges," South Africa's government news agency BuaNews quoted him as saying.
Thousands of South Africans queued Thursday for the half a million over-the-counter tickets available, but the day was marred by problems with the computerised ticketing system and fan frustration.
In Pretoria, police and security officials used pepper spray on fans who were reportedly pushing in the queue. In Durban and Polokwane, police had to calm down dozens of fans who were angered by the slow transaction process. And in Cape Town, a 64-year-old man died while waiting in line.
Despite the opening-day glitches, FIFA said it was pleased with sales of more than 100,000 tickets in the first 24 hours.
Of the tournament's 64 matches, 29 have sold out already, including the opening and final matches and both semi-finals, FIFA said.
In February, FIFA upped the number of cheap tickets to get more South Africans into stadiums to up local attendance and after international sales proved more sluggish than initially predicted.
The tournament kicks off on June 11, with the final on July 11.