FIFA sued for ticket irregularities at Confed Cup

Brazilian prosecutors want FIFA and local World Cup organizers

to pay nearly $2 million in damages for alleged ticket

irregularities at a Confederations Cup venue.

Prosecutors in the northeastern state of Pernambuco say

organizers did not provide the services that fans paid for at the

Arena Pernambuco during the warm-up tournament this year,

especially in relation to seating location.

FIFA’s agent in tickets sales, MATCH Services, has also been

included in Friday’s court action.

Many fans complained that their seats were not as good as shown

when they made the purchases, and that some ticket orders forced

people to sit in opposite sides of the stadium. The unhappy fans

included some who bought the most expensive tickets for the three

matches played at the Arena Pernambuco in June.

Prosecutors said they took action after interviewing some of the

fans who complained about their tickets, with many saying they

thought they would be sitting near the field but ended up sitting

high up in the stands. Some allegedly had their views

obstructed.

Prosecutors said they hope the lawsuit will help prevent the

same problem from happening again during next year’s World Cup, a

tournament for which FIFA has already sold nearly 1.2 million

tickets. Nearly 3.3 million tickets in total will be sold for

football’s showcase event next year.

”The action is aimed at guaranteeing that consumers receive

exactly what they pay for,” prosecutor Guilherme Lapenda said in a

statement.

FIFA and MATCH this month had already been fined more than

$200,000 each by consumer rights officials because of the problems

at the Arena Pernambuco.

Fans said they turned to prosecutors because FIFA and MATCH did

nothing after hearing their complaints.

Messages seeking comment sent to FIFA, MATCH and local World Cup

organizers were not immediately returned on Sunday.

For World Cup tickets, FIFA tells fans in advance that they

”cannot choose specific seats,” only pick between four tickets

categories based on stadium location. It also advises that it

cannot guarantee that fans will sit next to each other.

Prosecutors said the $2 million should be paid to a local

consumers’ rights group and will not go directly to fans, although

those who prove they received bad tickets can later seek

compensation from FIFA and MATCH.

Tickets for the 16-match tournament cost between $60 to $220,

although hospitality packages bought through MATCH cost

significantly more.

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