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From The Terraces: World Cup Ticket Hell

Today’s guest submission comes from Rich Chestmat over at Attention Seeking Cat. It seems FIFA have been acting like prats over ticket payment for next year’s World Cup, and ol’ Rich isn’t having any of it:

Would you like a chance to grab return tickets for the World Cup next year?
Well you’re in luck provided you have a MasterCard or live in Germany. The
rest of you can make like the Australian squad and watch it at home on your
TV instead.

Back in May FIFA fell foul of EU law when customers living outside of
Germany were forced to pay expensive bank charges to pay for their tickets
using international money transfer. UK consumer magazine ‘Which’ got wind of this and ran a successful campaign back in April. FIFA got a rap on the
knuckles and were told to refund the bank charges to any successful ticket
applicants. They also pledged to open bank accounts in each EU member-state
so that all the other EU citizens could pay for tickets in their own
currency.

Earlier this month FIFA started a conditional ticket scheme where fans can
apply for return tickets. Return tickets are made available whenever
corporate sponsors and other promotional seats are returned to FIFA. Like
before you have to provide your passport number and payment details
up-front. But this time the money transfer option is missing. The only
options are MasterCard and direct-debit for German accounts only. There is
simply no other option available. So instead of letting you pay using your
own currency, now you can’t pay at all unless you are prepared to open a
MasterCard account. Sounds like a charter for responsible borrowing to me.

FIFA have eventually replied to my queries by saying

“Since MasterCard is the Exclusive Card of the 2006 FIFA World Cup Germany(TM), no other payment card is accepted. Alternatively, you are able to pay by bank transfer, provided you agree to take over bank charges, and you are not holder of a bank account in Germany. Information on how to apply for a MasterCard card is available either online at www.mastercard.com/fifaworldcup or at your local bank.”

It’s a shame FIFA can’t be bothered to check their own website, much less
reply within any reasonable timescale. In the meantime I’ve been posting
about this mess on my blog where you can also find a simple screenshot
showing the entire range of two payment options. I’ve also started a
dialogue with Which magazine who are investigating this latest situation.

Have you tried to buy these tickets? Were you successful? Would you be
prepared to pay international bank transfer fees if you had the chance to do
so?

If you’re in a similar situation to Rich or would simply like to follow this story, head over to Attention Seeking Cat for updates.