2014 World Cup tickets could prove elusive

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Last updated 05:01 31/07/2013

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New Zealanders will need to budget close to $15,000 for a shot at attending next year's $16.4-billion-budget Football World Cup in Brazil.

Changes to ticketing rules could see supporters miss out altogether, however, as travel agents are not able to offer packages that include tickets.

The All Whites need to beat the fourth-ranked Concacaf (North, Central American and Caribbean) side over two legs to qualify for the tournament, the second of which will be played in Wellington on November 20.

But some football fans say they will travel to Brazil regardless of the All Whites' involvement and irrespective of the cost.

Wellington flatmates David Owen and Patrick Stevens have begun budgeting for next year's World Cup, which begins on June 12.

Owen, 23, said he was a fervent football supporter who had always wanted to go to the sport's biggest competition.

"People perceive Brazil as the home of football and it just seems like the perfect opportunity to go and experience football. It will always help having the national team there to support, but you go there to watch the top talent."

Owen expected he would be able to go to a few games for less than $10,000, depending on how creative he could get with his itinerary. He had been researching travel options and found a student deal for a flight to Argentina priced at about $900.

"On top of that you're trying to get from Argentina to Brazil, so it does add up, but if you want to travel South America while you're over there then it obviously helps."

Football's governing body Fifa recently announced the cheapest ticket price for overseas fans would be about $110, ranging to $1200 for the best tickets to next year's final.

Owen said compared to an All Blacks Bledisloe Cup ticket, which could cost up to $135 for a seat at Wellington's Westpac Stadium, the price-point was reasonable.

Williment Sports Travel tour co-ordinator Phil Langridge said although ticket prices had been announced, tickets were not yet available.

Fifa had made changes to the distribution which made arranging tours to Brazil "incredibly complicated", he said.

"They're not appointing travel agents that can access tickets this time so we can't access tickets as we could last time as an official travel agent.

"Basically we can't sell packages with tickets."

Fans needed to register on Fifa's website for sales which would begin between August and October, he said.

"But the actual draw isn't made until December 8 so it's a bit of a leap of faith for New Zealand supporters, even now, to even consider going because the All Whites might not make it."

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Stevens said he would not mind if he missed out on All Whites tickets, should they qualify, because there would be plenty of other teams he would want to see anyway.

"I want to travel South America and see Brazil in its Football World Cup madness. New Zealanders are rugby mad but Brazilians and South Americans treat football as a religion."

He had earmarked $10,000 for the trip, but expected this figure could easily rise.

FAN FARES

World Cup 2014

June 12-July 13

Group game ticket: $110

Finals ticket: $550

Return flight: $3500

Auckland to Rio de Janeiro Accommodation: from $70 to $1100 a night, depending on the city.

Twelve to 14-night travel package: about $15,000

- BusinessDay.co.nz

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