FIFA offside on online World Cup ticket sales

It is unknown how long the technological problems will persist, but is expected to last at least two or three days, the world's premier soccer association said in a statement.

The technical glitch is only affecting users in Japan and Korea, the host countries of World Cup 2002, which is held every four years and is one of the most popular sporting events in the world. The problem does not affect people trying to apply for the right to buy tickets internationally, FIFA said.

Affected users will still be able to send applications for tickets by fax and mail, so soccer fans in Korea and Japan do not risk being left out of the ticketing process, FIFA said.

A spokeswoman at FIFA headquarters in Zurich, Switzerland declined to comment on the problem at the time.

The technological problems were discovered during the final checks prior to the launch of the ticket sale in the two host countries, FIFA said, stressing that the problems were completely beyond the control of the local organising committees in Korea and Japan.

A total of 3 million World Cup 2002 tickets will be made available, with 1.3 million tickets set to be sold to the general public in Korea and Japan, and 880,000 tickets going to the international general public and the participating national associations, FIFA said. The remaining 620,000 tickets are earmarked for FIFA commercial affiliates and rights holders, the organisation said.

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