World Cup Tickets Inflated To Pay for VIP’s Trips

May 26, 2006

Anyone who bought tickets in Costa Rica to the soccer matches in the upcoming World Cup – to be played in Germany starting June 9 – paid an additional 10-41% to finance the trips of 62 invitees of the Costa Rican Soccer Federation (FEDEFUT).

FEDEFUT, the exclusive distributor in Costa Rica of World Cup tickets, added a 10% surcharge to all tickets it sold, and charged travel agencies an addition $26 per ticket – to be paid in credit on travel expenses back to the Costa Rican federation – the daily La Nación reported.

The International Soccer Federation (FIFA), which is the world’s governing body of soccer and the organizer of the World Cup, sets ticket prices and sells them directly to FEDEFUT.

The FEDEFUT official in charge of administering the tickets, Luis Acuña, told the daily that the money from the surcharges went into a general fund that was used to pay for the travel expenses, lodging and tickets to the games for special invitees of FEDEFUT. According to the daily, 44 of the 62 invitees are the principal directors of various soccer leagues in Costa Rica, including the First Division.

These officials are also voting members of the FEDEFUT assembly that will decide the federation leadership in elections in August.

Acuña defended the surcharges, saying that many other federations around the world add a surcharge of as much as 20%- 25%, and the money also will go to supporting the minor soccer leagues in Costa Rica and the younger national teams.

Costa Rica is one of the 32 teams that classified for the World Cup, and will face Germany in the opening match June 9 (see separate article).

Adding to the frustration, many fans have found that their tickets are for seats in cheaper areas than they paid for. Also, they have been separated from their families or friends because the tickets provided by FIFA and distributed by FEDEFUT were not the same ones fans had chosen, La Nación reported.

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