Investigations into empty seats underway - FIFA

Sunday, June 13, 2010
By: 
Chris Bathembu

Johannesburg - Investigations as to why certain seats were unoccupied at the opening match between Bafana Bafana and Mexico on Friday are still underway, FIFA said on Sunday.

It said the ticketing department was looking at a possibility of transport to the stadium as having been behind the no show by some supporters. "At this stage we cannot say anything conclusive but we are investigating whether transport problems played a role," said FIFA spokesperson Nicolas Maingot.

A total of 84 900 people were confirmed to have attended the opening match but there were empty seats estimated at 3000 even though the match had been sold out. There were also empty seats spotted during the game between Greece and Korea at Port Elizabeth's Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium on Saturday even though the match was reportedly sold out.

Rich Mkhondo, spokesperson for the Local Organising Committee also promised that the organisers will ensure that police investigates the spectre of crime that tries to hijack the tournament. This include a case involving a Chinese TV crew who were apparently robbed at gunpoint and a spokesman for Greece saying 1,500 euros in cash had been stolen at the team hotel.

South African police passed their first major security test of the World Cup on Saturday as potential flashpoint matches involving Argentina, USA and England went off peacefully.

Meanwhile, Maingot said FIFA is expecting a full stadium when Africa's favorites Ghana takes on Serbia in a second Group D match at Loftus Stadium tonight. The only prior meeting between two sides was a friendly game played out on 12 June 1997 in Seoul, which was won by the former Yugoslavia 3-1.

Serbia (previously participating as Yugoslavia has lost their last four matches played at the FIFA World Cup, suffering consecutive defeats against the Netherlands in 1998 and 2006 before slipping up against Argentina and Cote d'Ivoire also a Germany 2006. Their last victory dates back to 25 June 1998 when a goal by defender Slobodan Komljenovic secured a 1-nil success over USA.

Ghana has never drawn a match at a FIFA World Cup, having collected two wins and two defeats from their solitary outing in 2006. The Black Stars have also not scored more than one goal in their last ten matches. The last time they score two goals was in their final 2010 World Cup qualifiers on 15 November 2009. Ghana is also going to today's game without their top striker Michael Essien, who is still nursing an injury. Kick-off is at 4pm.

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