A female representative from Special Ticket, an online ticket sales agency, sold an estimated 1,500 counterfeit tickets to fans hoping to attend the Costa Rica vs. Mexico soccer match on Saturday, the Costa Rican Soccer Federation (FEDEFUTBOL) reports.
The Special Ticket representative has been arrested for fraud by the Judicial Investigation Police (OIJ), though her name has not been released.
The arrest comes in the midst of a week of uncertainty for ticketholders, who were told last Wednesday by FEDEFUTBOL that fake tickets had been sold by Special Ticket. Since learning of the counterfeit sales, the federation has required that all ticketholders come to Ricardo Saprissa stadium, located north of San José in San Juan de Tibás, to have their tickets inspected.
“The decision to change the tickets has not been a very popular,” said Eduardo Li Sánchez, president of FEDEFUTBOL, in a news conference Monday. “People don´t understand how they could have been sold a fake ticket and they have lost some confidence in the security of ticket purchases.”
The ticket office at the stadium has been open every day since Thursday from 12 noon to 4 p.m. in order to inspect tickets. However, given the anticipated rush of ticketholders in the upcoming days, the office will extend their hours from 8:30 a.m. to 10 p.m. Tuesday and Thursday, and remain open until midnight on Friday. Of the 18,000 tickets purchased for the game, at least 466 were found to be counterfeit as of Tuesday afternoon.
To receive a new ticket, fans must present identification and their original ticket. If the ticket is authentic, the ticketholder is given a new ticket. Unfortunately, for those who purchased a counterfeit ticket, the game is sold out.
“If someone bought a fake ticket, they will not be able to enter the game,” said Pablo Contreras, a spokesman for the soccer federation. “The game is at full capacity and there are no remaining seats. The counterfeit tickets are being handled by Special Ticket.”
According to the Special Ticket Web site, all persons who purchased counterfeit tickets will be reimbursed.
Banco Nacional also sold over 3,000 tickets to the game. Beginning Wednesday, anyone who purchased tickets from Banco Nacional must go to the downtown location to have their tickets reissued. Banco Nacional will be open from 8:30 a.m. to 3:45 p.m. Wednesday through Friday to reissue tickets. To have a ticket reissued, the person who bought the original ticket must present a form of identification and the original ticket to the first floor of the Banco Nacional location in downtown San José.
The match between Costa Rica and Mexico will be played at 8 p.m. at Ricardo Saprissa Stadium on Saturday night. The game is a Confederation of North, Central American and Caribbean Association Football (CONCACAF) World Cup Qualifying match and will play a pivotal role in the standings of the six team group. Costa Rica is currently in first place in the group with 12 points, followed by the U.S. and Honduras with 10 points and Mexico with 9.