Fans face being shown door as race hots up for tickets

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The Independent Football

Fifa reiterated yesterday that, for the first time, there will be random identity checks at all World Cup venues in Germany next summer, and anyone found with a ticket that does not correspond to their passport or ID card will be refused entry.

So what chance does an England supporter have right now of gaining admission through the proper channels? And just how stringent are those spot-checks likely to be for those who decide to risk buying from the numerous agencies already proclaiming their World Cup wares on the internet?

As far as the FA is concerned, there is an allocation of eight per cent of tickets for each of England's matches officially available to fans. To be in with a shout, however, you have to be a member of the official supporters' association, englandfans. Early in the new year, the FA will offer 70 per cent of its allocation to its longest-serving members, with 30 per cent going on a random basis to the rest. Unless you are a member already, however, forget it. Membership has been capped at 25,000.

The other official route is via the Fifa website, fifaworldcup.com. Although all "team-specific" packages involving England have sold out, tickets will be available on the basis of venues once the World Cup draw has been made on 9 December.

A total of 300,000 tickets will be put up for grabs at noon on 12 December, through to 15 January in what will be the third of four sales phases by Fifa. All entrants will qualify for a lottery draw to be made on 31 January. There will be a fourth sales phase from 15 February, although the total of tickets will be dependent on how many allocations are returned.

A variety of agencies, in Europe and the United States, is offering guaranteed pre-sales of tickets. The organisers insist any tickets purchased through such agencies cannot be correctly named, and will be invalid if spotted. How great is the risk of getting caught? According to the World Cup organising committee, "extremely high". According to one agent, "very low".

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