FIFA Buckles Under Ticket Demand For 2018 World Cup In Russia

FIFA sold some 356,700 in its latest on sale, March 13, which saw tickets being allocated on a first-come, first-served basis. Countless fans weren’t able to make a purchase after spending hours trying, others didn’t receive a confirmation upon payment.

Fisht Olympic Stadium
Edgar Breshchanov (CC License)
– Fisht Olympic Stadium
One of the World Cup stadiums in 2018

FIFA apologized “to those who’ve had difficulties purchasing tickets today. We’ve noted the many messages & fully understand your frustrations. We’ve been informed that the issues relate to the sheer volume of fans accessing the ticketing platform. We thank you for your patience.”

The association did not mention the number of total ticket requests. When the current sales phase launched in December, however, some 1,318,109 tickets were requested within the first 24 hours. Between the December on sale and Jan. 15, the association registered 3,141,163 ticket requests from all around the world.

Most of the tickets in the March 13 on sale have been allocated to Russian fans (197,036), followed by fans from USA (14,845), Argentina (14,564), Colombia (13,994), Mexico (13,505), Brazil (9,691), Peru (9,493), Australia (5,500), Germany (5,476), China (5,459) and India (4,166) – “the top ten countries from abroad,” according to FIFA.

The association provided fans, who had money debited from their accounts but did not receive a confirmation, with a support link. It reminded those who were unsuccessful in the latest sale of the third and last sales phase, which launches April 18. Around the same time, FIFA is going to open its resale platform to allow fans, who can no longer attend, to resell their ticket at face value. The association recently obtained a preliminary injunction against Viagogo, issued by the district court of Hamburg, Germany.

FIFA’s resale policy states that the associtation will only consent “in case a (i) Ticket Holder wishes to transfer a Ticket to a privately invited guest with whom there is a pre-existing relationship or a family member for free or for the price charged to the Ticket Holder by FIFA; (ii) a guest of the Ticket Holder is seriously ill, unable to obtain a valid visa to travel to Russia or has died; (iii) there is an event of force majeure; (iv) due to a change in personal circumstances; or (v) any other reasons which may be defined by FIFA in the Ticket Transfer and Resale Policy available on”

Pollstar asked FIFA about the ticketing system it uses, what caused the complications in the latest on sale, and some questions on its massive ticketing operation. Pollstar also wanted to get a few more insights into Fan ID, a mandatory identity document for all spectators at the world cup, without which they will not be allowed into the stadiums.

“Unfortunately an interview on the matters referred to in your e-mail is not possible,” was the reply from the media office.

The first tickets for the 2018 world cup went on sale in September. Since teams were still qualifying for the finals, fans could either buy tickets based on the date and venue of a match (with the team determined later), or follow a specific team (with the date and venue determined later). Successful applicants were determined by a random selection draw and served on a first-come-first-served basis, Nov. 16-28.

Sales phase two began after the final draw, on Dec. 5, also consisting of a random selection draw followed by a first-come, first-served sale, which closed Jan. 31.

The last phase, starting April 18, will last until the final match day. Ticket buyers need FIFA’s Fan ID, which was already used during the Confed Cup in 2017 and for which they can register after successfully purchasing a ticket. Fan ID serves as a public transport card, as well as a temporary visa valid from 10 days prior to kick off until 10 days after 2018’s world champion is determined in the final match on July 15.

World Cup Tickets
– World Cup Tickets
In high demand