Fifa make pledge over empty seats at 2014 World Cup

 

FIFA have vowed to keep empty seats to a “strict minimum” at the next World Cup.

This year's London Olympics and European Championships in Poland and Ukraine were both dogged by no-shows in arenas that were meant to be sold out.

FIFA admit it is impossible to eradicate the problem completely but are confident they will have systems in place at Brazil 2014 to avoid similar embarrassment.

Speaking at the Leaders in Football conference at Stamford Bridge today, FIFA's marketing director Thierry Weil said: "Empty seats is always a huge topic.

"We are implementing new initiatives, we are implementing new resale platforms.

"There will always be no-shows - as we call it - in the ticketing world, people who, last minute, will not come to the stadium for certain reasons.

"But we will do our maximum to reduce that to a strict minimum."

He added: "We are concerned by no-shows, that is clear. Because it does not look good and it especially does not look good if you announce to the world that you have no tickets, then you see on TV that you have a lot of empty seats."

Weil confirmed FIFA were revamping the official resale website they used at the last World Cup, something which would allow tickets to be reallocated as late as the day of a game - helped by the fact no physical ticket will be issued until matchday in any event.

One of the biggest complaints from the Olympics was the no-show of event sponsors, leading to large blocks of empty seats in highly-visible locations.

Weil said commercial partners would have to provide a list of names of individual attendees "two or three days in advance, so they cannot just say the people will come and then nobody comes".

He added: "The tickets will only be handed over the day of the game to the people, so you can reallocate tickets to different people, even in the sponsor families."

Weil was confident the new system would be up and running in time for next summer's Confederations Cup.

He also vowed FIFA would do everything possible to make ticket prices "extremely fair".

"We try to have this World Cup open to everybody, in Brazil, and around the world," he added, confirming the precise pricing structure would be announced on November 8.

Weil defended the format of the tournament, which will see teams travel all around Brazil, something that could prove very expensive for travelling fans.

He was also vowed the country would be ready to host the tournament, pointing out every event had problems in the build up.

"At certain stages, there will be some wake-up calls," he said. "At certain stages, there will be some delays. At certain stages, there will be negative things from different people.

"But, Brazil will be ready."

England manager Roy Hodgson last month warned about the climate in Brazil during what will be their winter, claiming there could be snow in the south and extreme heat and mosquitos in the north.

Marcelo Pedroso, the director of international Markets for Embratur - the Brazilian Tourist Board - promised "the warmest World Cup you've had in recent times".

Former Brazil striker Ronaldo, now a member of the Local Organising Committee, added: "I'm sure we will be able to look back with pride and know that we organised the best World Cup of all time.

"The organisation, of course, has to be perfect. It will be perfect. We will guarantee it will be perfect."

Ronaldo was not so certain about Brazil's prospects of a record-breaking sixth world title.

"We have the worst FIFA ranking ever in history," he said.

"It is a difficult moment for the national team.

"However, we will be playing at home. This will be added incentive, it will be motivation. I think it will have a positive impact.

"Otherwise, I will be playing again!"

PA

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