Large crowd to watch Ferns kick off Olympics

04:47, Jul 23 2012
Football Ferns
MEDAL A MUST: The Football Ferns must progress to the quarterfinals of the Olympic tournament if they're to receive a pass mark from New Zealand Football HQ.

New Zealand's Football Ferns will be playing before a bumper crowd in Cardiff when they kick off the sporting action at the Olympic Games.

London organising committee chief Sebastian Coe told English media today that 37,000 tickets had been sold for New Zealand's game next Thursday (NZ Time) against the Team Great Britain women's football team at the Millennium Stadium.

The Cardiff ground, venue for many All Blacks-Wales rugby tests, has 74,5000 seats.

But Coe said the attendance for the Football Ferns-Great Britain game, two days before the official Olympic opening ceremony, compared well with the 8723 who attended the English women's FA Cup final at Bristol's Ashton Gate stadium in May.

But London' Guardian newspaper reported football tickets have proved hard to sell at venues outside London's Wembley stadium and 500,000 tickets _ about a fifth of the total that originally went on sale, would be removed from the market.

London 2012 organisers have launched a campaign to sell more than 800,000 remaining tickets across all sports.

Capacity will be replaced at all football stadiums outside London, including Cardiff's MillenniumStadium, where the Football Ferns play twice, the City of Coventry Stadium, where the Ferns and the New Zealand Oly-Whites men's teams play, St James' Park in Newcastle, where the Oly-Whites meet Brazil, Manchester United's home ground Old Trafford, venue for the Oly-Whites clash with Egypt, and Glasgow's Hampden Park.

The Guardian said while Team GB's matches and the knockout stages are understood to have sold well, group games involving other nations have proved more challenging.

Organisers always expected that selling out the football tournament would be their biggest challenge but the move to reduce capacities may revive criticism about the size of the stadiums chosen and the pricing, the Guardian reported.