Pretoria - With only five days to go until the end of the first sales phase, tickets for the 2010 FIFA World Cup are in great demand.
"By Thursday, 26 March 2009, online applications for more than one million tickets had been received from over 160 countries via FIFA.com for the 743 000 available tickets for sale at this stage.
"This excludes any applications handed in by South African residents at FNB branches in the host country," the Local Organising Committee (LOC) said on Friday.
The number of applications has far exceeded FIFA's and the LOC's expectations. The country that has submitted the largest number of applications is South Africa followed by the United Kingdom and the USA.
"We have had a phenomenal response from football fans around the world. We do expect a last-minute rush over the next few days to submit applications to beat the 31 March deadline - in particular in South Africa," FIFA Secretary General J,r"me Valcke said.
He said this was the best chance to secure a ticket at an early stage, so as not to miss out on this unique opportunity to be part of the first FIFA World Cup on African soil.
Mr Valcke said 50 percent of the applications made so far have been for the Team Specific Series, which allows fans to follow their team of choice as it progresses through the tournament.
This reflects the growing popularity of this special ticket product, which was introduced in 2002.
Danny Jordaan, the Chief Executive Officer of the 2010 FIFA World Cup LOC said he was very excited that FIFA has passed the one million mark for ticket applications for the 2010 FIFA World Cup.
"The interest in South Africa and around the world has been incredible. We are now completing magnificent stadiums and world-class infrastructure and are well placed to stage an authentic African showpiece that global football fans will never forget," he said.
Fans have until midnight on 31 March 2009 to make ticket applications on the www.FIFA.com website.
In addition, South African residents can submit a paper application in one of the 700 FNB branches across the country. This ticketing purchase solution has been developed with FIFA Partner Visa.
Irrespective of the date of their order during this first sales phase, which commenced on 20 February and will end on 31 March 2009, all applicants have the same chance of success.
In case of over-subscribed matches, a random selection draw will be held on 15 April to allocate tickets for over-subscribed matches. All applicants will know by the end of April 2009 at the latest whether they have been successful or not.
The second sales period for 2010 FIFA World Cup match tickets begins on 4 May 2009 and will be open until 16 November.
Tickets will then be allocated on a "first come, first served, subject to availability" basis in this sales period, i.e. applications will be processed in the order they are received.