My World Cup Story: A ticket-scalping disaster
This is part of a series of reader-submitted stories about World Cup adventures and traditions. Click here to submit your own.
By John Nix, Dallas:
In 2006 my family was fortunate to purchase World Cup tickets via the FIFA lottery and so we began our trek to Germany to follow the Albiceleste from our native Argentina. I had requested tickets to both Round of 16 games for Argentina’s group, not knowing in advance in which position they would finish. So on June 25, after watching Argentina defeat Mexico in overtime with a goal by Maxi Rodriguez that was judged to be the best goal of the 2006 World Cup, my son and I traveled 280 kilometers from Leipzig to Nuremberg.
This was the location for the other game between Portugal and the Netherlands that we had received tickets for. I had four tickets, and we decided to try to sell them. I spent two hours walking the perimeter of the stadium, looking for interested buyers. It was unlike what I had experienced in the United States, and I was growing disillusioned with the possibility of finding a buyer. Then, a few minutes before the start of the match, a man approached me and inquired about my seats. We quickly made a deal and I exchanged the four tickets for 2,000 Euros, which he paid with two thousand-dollar bills.
As soon as the transaction was completed, we were surrounded by four or five uniformed military police, who confiscated the tickets and the money. At first, I thought it had been a setup, but then it became clear that my buyer was not a part of a sting. He just wanted to see the match. The police detained us for more than half an hour while they conferred with their HQ about the situation.
Meanwhile, I was playing out scenarios of going to jail, missing my flight home the next day, losing the tickets AND the money. It was a miserable half hour, filled with prayer.
Finally, an officer came back and explained that it was all okay. We had broken no law by selling four tickets, even though they had been scalped for a large amount. Had we sold five or more tickets that would have been illegal. My money was returned to me and the buyer got his tickets and we were on our way. I left there as quickly as I could before they changed their minds.