At Least 94 Percent World Cup Tickets Sold, FIFA Says

At least 94 percent of tickets available had been sold for the total of matches in the month-longWorld Cup finals co-hosted by Japan and South Korea, soccer's world governing body FIFA said here on Thursday.

Lennart Johansson, chairman of FIFA's organizing committee for the World Cup soccer finals, said in a press conference that although there were ticket-sales problems in this year's tournament which ends Sunday, the outcome was still satisfactory compared with that of past World Cup finals.

The announcement came after FIFA's World Cup organizing committee held talks Thursday, and appeared to underscore that ticket sales largely went smoothly for the World Cup games held in10 stadiums each in Japan and South Korea.

The ticket problems, which resulted in large portions of empty seats in first-round matches mainly due to unsold tickets offered for international sale, angered fans and left Japanese and South Korean organizers, FIFA and its ticketing agent Byrom PLC all pointing fingers at each other.

The British firm Byrom was tasked with selling tickets abroad for the World Cup finals.

Empty seats were still observed in second-round matches, despite assurances by FIFA and Byrom that the ticket mess had beenresolved, Japanese news agency Kyodo reported.

People's Daily Online ---