More than 1,300 fans notified of ticket changes
SAO PAULO (AP) FIFA says about 1,400 people will have to change their tickets less than a week before the World Cup begins because they were handed out before work at the stadiums was completed.
FIFA said Saturday it notified 1,376 people whose tickets will have to be swapped because they do not correspond to valid seats.
Football's governing body said seating configurations changed after technical teams established exactly where the media tribunes and broadcast equipment had to be placed in each of the 12 venues.
FIFA said the changes were not caused by the delays in finishing Brazilian stadiums, and that such adjustments also happened in previous World Cups. It said the swaps account for ''just a few cases comparing with the 2.2 million tickets sold to the general public.''
''For some venues, FIFA had to produce and hand out tickets prior to the completion of the infrastructures,'' football's governing body said in a statement. ''FIFA has now been able to validate all stadia and took note that in some few instances the seating configurations as well as the signage were not exactly built as per the submitted maps.''
Brazilians and foreigners received the notifications on Friday, five days before the Brazil-Croatia opener in Sao Paulo. FIFA said the tickets fans have now will not be accepted at the stadiums.
People affected by the changes can swap their tickets in one of the country's 24 ticketing centers, or at the stadium on match day. FIFA said it was providing the ''additional service'' to fans affected ''by such deviations from the plans so that they have a perfect match day experience.''
FIFA faced a lot of complaints during last year's Confederations Cup, the World Cup warm-up tournament in Brazil, as fans only found out about changes to their tickets after arriving at the stadiums. Some ended suing FIFA.
Fans are not immediately told exactly where they will seat when they purchase their tickets. They only pick one of the four ticket categories available.
FIFA admitted recently that it was concerned with the construction delays at Brazilian stadiums because it would take longer than usual to finalize the seating charts needed to sell tickets.
A total of about 3.3 million tickets will be sold for the first World Cup in Brazil since 1950. More than 2.5 million tickets had already been allocated, including through FIFA's hospitality programs.
''Every day we are reviewing and inspecting seats as there are still temporary elements that are being installed within the stadiums,'' FIFA said. ''So we will continue to monitor and will proactively communicate with customers where possible.''
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