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World Cup ticket scramble kicks off - again

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The last major phase of World Cup ticket sales opens on Monday (12 December), with 250,000 seats up for grabs. Previous sales rounds have been massively oversubscribed (only one in five applicants got tickets in the first sale, where 812,000 seats were sold) and with the draw for matches now complete the scramble for tickets is likely to be even more intense.

Applicants have until the end of the third sales phase on 15 January to apply via FIFAworldcup.com for the latest tranche of tickets. As with the first sales period, the tickets will be distributed after a ballot. The timing of applications made before the deadline will have no bearing on the outcome, organisers promise.

"The final draw on 9 December in Leipzig saw the match schedule finalised and the individual ties drawn for the various stadia. Fans from around the world now have a chance to order specific tickets. Since we also assume that demand will far outweigh the available allocation of tickets, we will perform a ballot on 31 January 2006 of all orders received. There is no fairer way of distributing the tickets than by drawing lots," explains organising committee vice president Horst R. Schmidt.

Except for the opening match, tickets will be available for all games, including Germany’s games, the semi-finals and final. Competition for tickets for the most attractive ties is likely to be intense.

Compared with the first two sales periods, in which more than 80 per cent of orders came from Europe, with 90 per cent of those from Germany, organisers expect a rise in orders from outside the host country. Prices run from € 40 (£25) for the cheapest seats at group games to € 600 (£400) for the best seats at the World Cup final on July 9.

Around 100,000 tickets in the third sales period have come from the hospitality program. Added to these are returns from sponsors as well as national associations from the first two sales periods. Further blocks have also been released from safety reserve seats. Unsold tickets will be offered on a first-come, first-served basis from February 15. A limited number of returned tickets will be available in a last-hope phase running from May 1 until the end of the competition on July 9.

Separately, individual countries will get an allocation of around 8 per cent of tickets available to distribute among fans. Many England fans can be expected to travel without tickets.

In preparation for next year's festival of football, the British Embassy in Berlin has launched its dedicated world cup site here. The website contains up to date information including locations for next year's World Cup games, information on German football culture and top tips on do's and don'ts for fans and travelers. ®

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