Only 25,636 out of the 61,600 tickets to Thursday’s opening match at the World Cup went to the general public. The rest were reserved for VIPs, broadcasters, and hospitality programs.
FIFA said they withheld 10,000 tickets, which will be given out during promotions. Plus, some people have to return tickets due to seating configurations. From the Associated Press:
Football’s governing body said more than 1,500 tickets were reserved for VIPs, and about the same number is going to journalists.
More than 13,700 tickets went to hospitality programs, and 12,600 to commercial affiliates and broadcasters, who are expected to give away 85 percent of their share to fans and partners. Local organizers and the football community, including association members, received 6,600 tickets.
On Saturday, FIFA said that 1,376 people will have to change their tickets because they were handed out before work at the stadiums was completed. It said seating configurations changed after technical teams established exactly where the media tribunes and broadcast equipment had to be placed in each of the 12 venues.
The stadium in Sao Paulo was supposed to hold 68,000 people, but FIFA said they did not take into account 34 cameras needed for the match. They denied the setback had to do with Corinthians Arena setbacks. Fabio Hamilton da Cruz fell to his death in March from the stadium in Sao Paulo and this was the eighth death connected to stadium construction. A crane collapsed at the stadium and killed three people in November.
In March, just a few days before da Cruz died, FIFA secretary general Jerome Valcke said he was concerned construction on Corinthians Arena would not be finished in time. The stadium was handed over to owners in mid-April even though the stadium was not complete.
On June 2, only ten days before kickoff, The Washington Post‘s Marissa Payne reported that a test match at Itaquerao only had 40,000 observers because the fire department could not complete testing on bleachers. She also provided observations from Sky Sports:
One end of the £300 million ($500 million) stadium is very much unfinished. It has no roof and it just looked like scaffolding with no attempt yet to hide a pretty ugly facade.
It does not help that the subway workers decided to strike on Thursday after they rejected an 8.7% raise. This caused two straight days of chaos and overcrowded streets. Imagine what it will be like when the fans and players arrive for the tournament. A judge will visit the case on Monday.