Football World Cup Draw: Larger allocation sought as home fans face disappointment

How to get tickets
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The Independent Online
Managers say getting to the World Cup is the hard part. Supporters are likely to agree with them if they attempt to follow England and Scotland to France next summer.

Just 28 per cent of the seats will be available to foreign fans. In a stadium such as the Stade de la Mosson in Montpellier, which has a capacity of 35,500, only 5,000 tickets would be available to each set of fans.

For supporters in England and Scotland there are two ways of buying tickets, via the official international travel clubs or via official travel operators.

The problem for anyone not already a member of England's Members Club (which has 27,000 members) or Scotland's equivalent (12,000 members) is that the organisations are very unlikely to be able to satisfy the demands of their current members. Anyone joining now would go to the back of the queue.

French supporters applying for tickets have to supply an address and bank account number in France.

However, tickets will be made available to 17 official travel operators around the world. Supporters wishing to buy tickets via these operators would have to buy a tickets-and-travel package. The FA said the names of the two British-based operators would be announced today, although the official World Cup Internet site has already announced that they will be Gullivers Sports Travel and Mike Burton Sports Travel.

"Since we qualified we've received 200 calls a day from people wanting tickets," Steve Double, spokesman for the Football Association, said. "The sad fact is that a lot of people are going to be disappointed, but we want as many of that number as possible to have a good chance of following England.

"They've proved in the past that they can behave responsibly and back the team in a way Glenn Hoddle and the players appreciate.

"We want them to be able to enjoy themselves in the same way they did in Euro 96, safe and trouble-free, and we would have no qualms in increasing the number of tickets to those fans who have followed England home and away in recent years. As a matter of urgency we will be urging Fifa [the sport's world governing body] to increase the allocation of tickets for England fans."

Scotland will be making similar representations on behalf of their supporters, but they, like England, are likely to be rebuffed. "There's simply no leeway on this issue," Keith Cooper, spokesman for Fifa, said. "Surely the Football Association does not want us to create security problems by taking tickets from here and there?"

Double added: "It is important that as many fans as possible get the chance to watch England. Priority will be given by us to the fans who followed England to Moldova, Poland, Georgia and Italy."

England Members Club, Football Association, 16 Lancaster Gate, London, W2 3LW