Fairer World Cup tickets plan

Fifa, football's world governing body, yesterday reacted to claims that it was 'ripping off' fans by introducing changes to ticketing for next year's World Cup.

Measures that will make tickets cheaper and easier to buy were announced by the organisers following a complaint by the UK consumers' group Which?. Under the previous system tickets could only be purchased with a MasterCard, which is one of the main sponsors of the event, or via a bank transfer in euros, adding up to £30 per purchase in bank charges.

Following discussions with the European Union's competition commission, organisers have agreed to set up arrangements for tickets enabling UK fans to pay by domestic bank transfer in sterling. The Commission made it clear that limiting credit card sales to holders of MasterCard and obliging the rest to pay with costly bank transfers, particularly for those outside the euro zone, could be a breach of fair trade rules.

Under the new arrangements, Fifa and the German Football Federation have opened bank accounts in European countries outside the euro zone, including the UK, so that World Cup ticket payments can be accepted in local currency.

"These arrangements should ensure that all consumers have reasonable access to tickets overall," a Commission statement said.

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