FIFA probes 8,000 no-shows at SKorea-Greece game

FIFA is investigating whether transportation and ticket

distribution systems failed after at least 8,000 seat-holders

didn’t get to the World Cup match between South Korea and Greece in

Port Elizabeth.

The problem appeared to occur for a second straight day Sunday

when another match between two of the tournament’s less glamorous

teams, Algeria and Slovenia, kicked off in Polokwane at 1:30 p.m.

local time with about one-third of the stands empty.

Only 31,513 people attended South Korea’s 2-0 victory on

Saturday at the Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium, which holds 42,486

spectators for World Cup games.

FIFA said just 3,000 tickets were available on the morning of

the match.

“It looked like a lot of people did not show up at the stadium.

We are investigating this,” FIFA spokesman Nicolas Maingot said

Sunday.

Before the tournament, FIFA aimed to ensure full stadiums by

cutting the price on tickets for matches less attractive to fans in

the worldwide sales. Host cities were offered group deals to

allocate seats among local businesses and public service

workers.

Maingot said FIFA helped pay for bus transportation to bring

South African fans to the lower-demand games.

“We have been proactive on that, and we asked for a system to

be put in place. Apparently, that has not completely worked,” he

said. “We are working on this to make sure this is not the case

for a potential few others of those games.”

FIFA said Sunday that 700 unsold tickets were available hours

before Algeria and Slovenia played in the 41,733-capacity Peter

Mokaba Stadium. Official attendance was 30,235.

Transportation has been a problem in the early days of a World

Cup that is proving popular with host nation fans and visitors.

Organizing committee officials experienced what they called

“challenges” getting 84,490 fans to a sold-out Soccer City in

Johannesburg on Friday for the opening ceremony and South Africa’s

first match against Mexico.

World Cup and city officials were working Sunday to create a

more efficient transit plan before the stadium hosts the

well-supported Netherlands playing Denmark in Monday’s

early-afternoon kickoff.