Every four years, the world's top 32 teams come together to contest the FIFA World Cup™ finals. The tournament's big kick-off on 11 June 2010 in Johannesburg, South Africa is still quite a few months away, but for fans of the world's biggest single sporting event there is another important date on the horizon: the start of the first ticket sales phase on 20 February 2009.
Anyone who wants to attend the first-ever final phase on African soil would do well to put this date in their diaries. The first of a total of five sales phases will run from 20 February to 31 March 2009, with tickets being allocated by a random selection draw for over-subscribed matches and ticket categories. All orders will be entered into a random selection draw on 15 April 2009 at the same time regardless of whether they were submitted on the first or the last day of the first sales phase. Should demand exceed availability for a certain category or match then available tickets will be awarded by ballot (i.e. through an electronic random selection draw).
There are two ways for fans to order tickets: firstly, you can log on to FIFA.com, the official website of the 2010 FIFA World Cup South Africa where fans can sign up for the FIFA.com Club for free. Those living in South Africa can also order tickets via the "FNB Visa Official Mascot Pre-paid card" available at First National Bank (FNB), by filling in an official application form and handing it in at one of the participating FNB branches around the country. The "FNB Visa Official Mascot Pre-paid card" will be the unique Ticket payment card for the fans who are successfully awarded tickets through the official paper application forms handed in at FNB branches in South Africa.
As well as individual tickets for the 64 matches, team-specific ticket series are also available for the country of your choice. These are valid for anything from three to seven games.
Tickets are available in three categories with category 4 reserved exclusively for South African residents. The least expensive ticket in category 3 costs $80 USD.
There will be four further sales periods for the 2010 FIFA World Cup South Africa, with the second running from 4 May to 16 November 2009. During this period, tickets will be attributed based on the order in which the application is received and, of course, subject to availability.
All information on ticket sales is available on FIFA.com. Sign up for the FIFA.com Club for free and take part in competitions, meet new online friends, set up your own personalised version of FIFA.com and get all the latest news from around the world of football in a weekly newsletter.