Confederations Cup ticket sales slow as Russians cool on 2018 World Cup warm-up

By Samindra Kunti

March 10 – The countdown to the 2017 FIFA Confederations Cup is on, but concerns remain over the slow ticket sales for the tournament. Despite ticket sales windows being open since November 2016, tickets are still available for all 16 matches.

Just 100 days remain until hosts Russia and New Zealand will kick off the eighth edition of the Confederations Cup, a tournament that has mutated from a procession of glorified friendlies to a major organisational warm-up for the host nation of the World Cup. But while the stadia are ready it seems the Russians haven’t warmed up to them yet.

Saint Petersburg will host the opening match at the brand new Zenit Arena, with a capacity of 68,134. “This stadium is fantastic,” said Brazil legend Cafu. “It is a modern venue in a beautiful city hosting a very important tournament. I have great memories of the Confederations Cup. It is a very competitive and short competition, which I am proud to have won. And of course, it is a great way for teams and hosts to prepare for the World Cup.”

“Together with the LOC, the host cities and Russia, we are working hard and on the right track to deliver an unforgettable tournament for the locals and the whole world to enjoy,” said FIFA Secretary General Fatma Samoura.

A flashmob of 1,000 volunteers took over the city’s famous Palace Square, but amid all the small talk and drumbeating the enthusiasm for the tournament remains low.  By the end of the first ticketing sales phase 82,478 tickets had been requested, with Russians applying for 71,266 tickets, followed by Chilean fans with 4,949 ticket requests. That number came on top of a total of 48,504 tickets that had already been sold during a pre-sales phase between 8-17 November 2016.

At the start of the March, FIFA opened the second ticketing sales phase based on a ‘first come, first served’ principle. This window for tickets will close on April 5. But fans still do not seem to be excited by the Confederations Cup. At present, tickets are still available for all 16 matches, including the opening match, the final and all three of the host nation’s matches.

Tickets prices range from $70 in the group stages to $245 for the final. Russian citizens can enjoy a special category, with the cheapest ticket starting at 960 Rubel ($16).

“Russians are “late buyers” and we are trying to promote [the tournament] as good as we can with a lot of different events,” said a FIFA spokesperson.

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