Football: No resolution of World Cup tickets dispute

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The Independent Online
THE European Commission said yesterday that it had still not yet received any new proposals from the organisers of the World Cup about making the remaining tickets for this year's finals available outside France.

"There is no reply yet from CFO [the organising committee] I'm afraid," a commission spokesman said.

The commission wants the small amount of tickets left - 160,772 - to be sold entirely to non-French fans, but last week the CFO offered foreign federations only 50,000 tickets.

The French sports minister, Marie-George Buffet, said last week it was "quite unacceptable" that France should have to make all remaining tickets available to foreigners as the event had been paid for partly with French taxpayers' money.

However, the Commission has taken the view that the sales system represented an abuse of a dominant position and discriminated between EU nationals - both offences under European law.

A meeting between the CFO and the European competition commissioner, Karel Van Miert, failed to to find a resolution, although the commission is still hopeful the CFO will make last-minute proposals. The commission has warned that if a solution is not found it will initiate formal proceedings against France which could culminate with a fine of well over 10 per cent of World Cup revenue.