South African ticket touts cash in on World Cup

JOHANNESBURG  Ticket touts in South Africa are cashing in the world's most-watched sport event, selling tickets for the final at up to $4,000 five days after the World Cup kicked off in the country.

The South African government has promised a clampdown on black market tickets after a stampede, triggered by fake tickets, during a warm-up match between Nigerian and North Korea that left 15 people injured.

But illegal touts were operating in South Africa, some of them plying their trade in front of the official FIFA ticketing office in Johannesburg's financial district, Sandton.

A man, who said he was from the U.S., approached a Reuters reporter with six tickets for Tuesday's Brazil v North Korea game asking $250 for each right outside the FIFA ticketing office in Sandton, where a few fans were queuing to buy tickets.

Tickets for the final were being sold for as high as 30,000 rand ($4,050), although one tout was offering a ticket to the final for around 12,500 rand, the Talk Radio 702 reported.

"For the finals, yes, the finals are going for 12 and half (thousand rand)," the tout told Talk Radio 702.

"I will reply later in the evening as soon as this comes in," he said when asked if he had tickets for the Brazil v Ivory Coast game on Sunday.

The tickets were for category one, which is sold for $160 on the FIFA website.

Rich Mkhondo, spokesman for the local World Cup organising committee, referred enquiries to Match Hospitality, which manages sales for FIFA. Match Hospitality was not immediately reachable for comment.

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