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World Cup fans warned not to buy tickets on Ebay

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CIOL Bureau
Updated On
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By Mark Trevelyan

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BERLIN (Reuters) - Soccer fans who missed out on the official World Cup draws

will run a big risk if they buy unauthorised tickets via online auction house

Ebay, a German official said on Thursday.

For security reasons, tickets for the month-long tournament starting June 9

are personalised with the buyer's name, and are not transferable except under

special circumstances. But that has not stopped a lively market from developing

on the Internet.

Asked what advice he would give to a prospective Ebay buyer, German soccer

chief Theo Zwanziger said: "I would just warn him he's running a risk. He's

going to the stadium under a false name... and he runs the risk he will be

turned away."

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He dismissed a reporter's suggestion that stadium officials would in practice

only be able to check a small proportion of fans' identities.

"Why are you so sure? We have a lot of stewards on the spot,"

Zwanziger said.

"If we have indications, firstly that the security situation is

critical, and secondly that people are coming to the stadium without officially

issued tickets, there will be intensive checks.

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"And then those who don't have (official tickets) will be spotted, and

they'll have paid a lot of money and they'll be sent home. So I'd advise them to

spare themselves the frustration."

On Ebay's German Web site, www.ebay.de, the top bid for a ticket for Brazil

versus Australia on June 18 was 431 euros ($551) on Thursday afternoon, while a

seat for Germany versus Poland on June 14 was fetching 445 euros, in both cases

several times the official price.

World soccer's governing body FIFA has criticised the German organisers over

the ticketing arrangements, with president Sepp Blatter expressing concern last

week that ID checks would lead to excessive queues and could mean there are many

empty seats.

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Zwanziger told a conference in Berlin: "We did it because we believe

this is an additional security factor."

He added that the organisers could have charged 50 per cent more for all

tickets and still sold out, but had kept prices reasonable because "we have

a responsibility to the fans".

Separately, Germany's organising committee announced on Thursday that 42,495

tickets had been returned by their holders for resale. The tickets were returned

by FIFA from various federations that did not use sell their full allotted

amount.

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