Asian relief as World Cup tickets go online

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The Independent Online

Fans in Japan and South Korea can finally place orders for tickets for the 2002 World Cup over the internet, organisers said yesterday.

Fans in Japan and South Korea can finally place orders for tickets for the 2002 World Cup over the internet, organisers said yesterday.

The announcement brings an end to more than a week of waiting and frustration for football enthusiasts in the two countries, which are co-hosting the first Asian edition of the sport's showcase event.

Organisers had planned to accept both written and online ticket requests from 15 February but were forced to scrub the launch of the internet service due to problems with the official Fifa World Cup website which was dealing with ticket applications.

Yesterday, however, Fifa informed the two organising committees that the system was accessible from both countries. South Korea and Japan will host 32 matches each, with three million tickets being available in total. A combined 1.3 million tickets will be sold domestically in the host countries and 1.5 million internationally. Another 200,000 will go to Fifa officials, media and observers.

Some 230,000 tickets will be sold in South Korea and another 221,000 in Japan in the first round of applications, which will be accepted until 14 March. If demand exceeds supply, the winners will be decided by a computer lottery on 28 March.

Closer to home, the Celtic defender Alan Stubbs has shrugged off the effects of cancer treatment and insisted the biggest disappointment of his medical problems has been missing his team's charge to the Scottish Premier League title.

The central defender has been given the all-clear after twice undergoing treatment for testicular cancer. "I feel really good at the moment," said the Liverpool-born defender.

"I have been given the all-clear now, so all I am concerned with is getting fit and getting back into the side."

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