scalpers sell with impunity

SCALPERS outside Mbombela Stadium in Nelspruit yesterday sold tickets for the World Cup game between Chile and Honduras in full view of police.

SCALPERS outside Mbombela Stadium in Nelspruit yesterday sold tickets for the World Cup game between Chile and Honduras in full view of police.

Soccer governing body Fifa had a "zero tolerance" policy towards scalping, but a police constable on duty outside the stadium's main gate said he didn't know if the practice was illegal or not.

"I really don't know," the constable said, as a scalper a few metres from him sold six tickets for R100 each to a group of Chilean supporters.

One scalper simply shrugged when asked if he knew about Fifa's strict rules. "What can I do?" he said. "I have to sell these tickets."

When asked where he got the tickets from, he grinned and said: "I don't know, I bought these already."

Groups of people arrived expecting to be able to buy tickets from touts. If they were unsuccessful, they got onto buses and went to fan parks.

A Belgian tour operator and a man wearing Fifa accreditation were also seen outside the gates trying to sell their tickets. A Chilean television journalist managed to get into the stadium after paying R100 for a ticket.

The cheapest tickets, if bought through Fifa, cost South Africans R140. Buses loaded with soccer supporters were continuing to arrive outside the stadium late into the first half.

Supporters did not seem fazed by missing parts of the game as they ambled into the stadium.

Rosa Sibiya, a vendor selling oranges at the gate, said she was disappointed by the day's sales: "I have sold just two pockets. Maybe I must drop my price from R2 to R1,50."

The Mbombela Stadium has been surrounded by controversy since construction began in 2007.

At least three men, including former Mbombela municipality speaker Jimmy Mohala, are alleged to have been murdered after allegations of corruption relating to the awarding of construction contracts for the stadium. - Sapa

X