Business, Sport

Over-the-counter World Cup ticket sales start amid crowd chaos

By Branko Brkic 15 April 2010

South Africans aren't interested in buying tickets for the World Cup? Tell that to the guy who rushed the doors of the Sandton ticket office shortly after it opened, got thrown back with considerable violence – and then got up to try again.

Watch: The man who really, desperately wants the WC2010 tickets

The Fifa World Cup ticket office in Sandton, Johannesburg, opened up this morning to kicking and shoving (though no biting that we could see) as non-existent security and crowd management ran straight into eager fans.

A system of issuing numbers to early queuers, some of who formed a line as early as Wednesday afternoon, fell apart entirely as a crowd pushed towards the door. While the rest of the more than 1,000 people remained in good spirits, the crowd immediately around the single, glass entrance did not remain as calm. Nobody was seriously hurt, but there were several altercations between a single burly security guard and a whole procession of hopeful buyers.

With not a single policeman on the scene and pathetically amateurish attempts by officials to control the situation (mostly consisting of opening and closing the doors), things had not improved after an hour had passed. But tempers continue to rise.

“They’re treating us like dogs here,” said one queuer.

Photo: Cops have arrived at Sandton World Cup ticket office, only about an hour late.

At the time we’re publishing this, people are finally starting to emerge here with tickets in hand, but reporting very slow, game-by-game processing. At the same time, Vuvuzela terrorism is still going on: every time the ESPN guy tries to do his piece to camera they drown him out; ITN is suffering too, and is giving up. Not boring, here. Our estimate is that less than 100 people helped in last 2 hours. At this rate, people here will all be helped by about Christmas. 2012.

By Phillip de Wet

Photos and video: The Daily Maverick

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