World Cup ticket sales continue to climb

JOHANNESBURG - South African football fans continued to snap up World Cup tickets on Saturday in the final phase of sales, embracing a move to an over-the-counter system.

World governing body FIFA said more than 130,000 of 500,000 tickets on offer had been sold less than two days after opening up cash sales at ticketing centres and some bank branches.

The vast majority of the seats were taken up by South Africans, who had previously been slow to buy tickets for the month-long tournament, which starts on June 11.

Over-the-counter sales of tickets in South Africa, which began on Thursday, sparked initial chaos as thousands of fans rushed to buy, crashing the computer system.

"After less than 36 hours of the fifth and last ticketing over-the-counter sales phase at the 11 ticketing centres and the 600 FNB (First National Bank) branches in the host country, over 130,000 tickets had been sold to the general public," FIFA said.

Sales offices are staying open over the weekend.

FIFA said late on Friday tickets for 29 of the 64 World Cup matches were no longer available, including the July 11 final, two semi-finals, the June 11 opening match and all matches in Durban and Cape Town.

All the national team's matches and most games with the other five African squads are also sold out.

Organisers moved to cash sales after being criticised for a complicated Internet-based system that effectively excluded millions of poor black South Africans who do not have access to the Internet or bank accounts.

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