How you, too, can qualify for the World Cup

The size of Germany's World Cup stadiums will ensure that attendances for the tournament, which runs from 9 June to 9 July 2006, will be huge. However, the country's accessibility, combined with football's ever-growing popularity, means that tickets are proving hard to come by.

Tickets are in four price bands for the group stages, starting at €35 (£25) and going up to €100. For the final they will cost from €120 to €600. They are available from only two official sources, the World Cup ticketing centre in Frankfurt (via its website) and each country's national governing body.

There will be plenty of other agencies offering to sell tickets, but every ticket will be personalised with an embedded chip and supporters who turn up with a ticket whichwas not originally allocated to them run the risk of being refused admission.

The first phase of sales from Frankfurt, which finished on 31 March, was heavily oversubscribed. A second wave of "team specific tickets" (TST) - to follow a single country's progress through the tournament - have been on sale since last month on a "first come first served" basis to applicants from anywhere in the world, but none were made available for the bigger nations and tickets for the vast majority of teams expected to qualify for the finals have now gone.

As of last week, the only country with a decent chance of making the finals for which there were some TST tickets available appeared to be Korea.

Frankfurt will make tickets available worldwide in three further sales periods, the first of them beginning on 1 December, while the 32 participating countries will each receive an allocation of tickets for their own matches after the draw for the tournament on 9 December.

If England qualify, the Football Association will sell its tickets only via englandfans, the official England supporters' club, which can be joined via the FA's website.

Seventy per cent of the FA's allocation will be distributed on a loyalty basis (the FA awards "caps" to members of englandfans for every match they attend), while 30 per cent will be made available via an open ballot. It is therefore not too late to join the queue for England tickets.

Forms will be sent out to englandfans members early next year and the tickets should be allocated by March. The FA expects demand to far exceed supply. It will not be selling any tickets for non-England games.

Further information

Details of how to buy tickets via the World Cup website can be found at www.fifaworldcup.yahoo.com/06/en/tickets/.

To join englandfans, apply via the FA website www.TheFA.com/ englandfans) or write to; englandfans, Phoenix Way, Cirencester, Gloucestershire GL7 1RY.

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