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The Honolulu Advertiser
Posted on: Saturday, May 29, 2010

Soccer: FIFA: 100,000 WCup tickets sold in 2 days


By GERALD IMRAY
AP Sports Writer

JOHANNESBURG FIFA says 100,000 World Cup tickets have been sold in less than two days as local fans make a late push to attend the tournament.

FIFA said Saturday that 14 matches were sold out, including the final, semifinals and South Africa's group games.

An extra 90,000 tickets, mainly returns from FIFA's sponsors, were added to the pool on Friday leaving organizers with 160,000 to sell just two weeks ahead of the June 11 kickoff.

The release was hampered Friday by computer glitches. But fans have flocked to the centers for seats to big games like the July 11 final, which were previously unavailable.

FIFA secretary general Jerome Valcke said the tournament was approaching the 97-percent sales mark of the 2006 World Cup in Germany.

Valcke said FIFA was "very happy" with the response of the fans, some of which were in line for two days and had to wait an additional two hours after the ticketing system crashed.

FIFA president Sepp Blatter also addressed reporters for the first time since arriving in South Africa on Thursday.

Blatter visited the Peter Mokaba Stadium in the northern city of Polokwane on Saturday, one of three World Cup stadiums he had not seen since they were completed.

As FIFA officially took control of the newly built venue for the World Cup, Blatter stressed that world soccer ruling body had faith in South Africa's preparations.

"All the world is focused on South Africa," Blatter said, "and all the world will look at what happened in the African continent when, finally, there was an organization called FIFA that said 'we trust Africa. We trust South Africa with such a big competition."'

Blatter also visited the colorful Mbombela Stadium, with its black and white seats, in Nelspruit. He will travel to the 50,000-seat Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium in the south coast city of Port Elizabeth on Sunday.