SAO PAULO (AP) — FIFA says less than half of the tickets available for the opening match of the World Cup next week went directly to the general public, with most being reserved for commercial partners, broadcasters, local organizers and hospitality programs.
FIFA said Sunday that of the 61,600 tickets available for the Brazil-Croatia match on Thursday in Sao Paulo, only 25,636 were sold to the general public. About 10,000 additional tickets are going to fans through promotional activities.
Football's governing body said more than 1,500 tickets were reserved for VIPs, and about the same number is going to journalists.
More than 13,700 tickets went to hospitality programs, and 12,600 to commercial affiliates and broadcasters, who are expected to give away 85 percent of their share to fans and partners. Local organizers and the football community, including association members, received 6,600 tickets.
FIFA initially said the Itaquerao stadium in Sao Paulo would hold 68,000 people in the high-profile inaugural match, but the capacity was adjusted because of the seats reserved to journalists and to accommodate the 34 cameras needed to broadcast the match. FIFA denied that the decrease in capacity was caused by delays in construction at the Itaquerao.
The stadium has been one of the most problematic in the run-up to the World Cup, prompting a series of concerns to FIFA. Late last year, a crane hoisting a giant roofing structure into place collapsed, killing two workers and causing significant delays. Constructors have already said that the stadium's roof will not be fully completed for the tournament.
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