World Cup: In France Without A Ticket

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The Independent Online
Nicholas Harling's daily quest to see a World Cup match: Days 11 and 12

AFTER THE first scares with inflated prices, yesterday turned out to be a doddle at the Parc de Princes. I paid a Jamaican 325 francs for 250fr ticket - so I am now a total of five francs under the accumulated cost price of tickets.

This healthty sum had been manufactured by events on Saturday where, after patrolling the perimeter of the Stade de la Beaujoire for close on two hours, accompanied by hordes of Japanese, I was accosted by an Italian gangster. "You want ticket?" he hissed.

"Sure, how much?" I asked.

"Cost price, follow me." Which meekly I did. The ticket turned out to be a prestige seat worth 1,800 francs.

Too much, I thought. "I'm not paying that," I said.

"How much you pay?" he asked.

"One thousand," I replied. He handed over the ticket. It was the most I had ever paid to watch a match.

Then, following me, he shouted: "Meester, Meester, wrong ticket," proffering a 250 franc ticket.

"No way!" I screamed at him. "I paid for this ticket." With that he made his excuses and disappeared.

Total games: 12. Total cost price: 4990fr. Total price paid: 4,895fr. Two failures to get in.