Football fans in Kolkata were left disappointed on Tuesday after they failed to buy tickets online for the FIFA Under-17 World Cup semi-final match between Brazil and England, which will be played at Vivekananda Yuba Bharati Krirangan here on Wednesday. This was because of online queue and technical glitches on the official FIFA website, they said.
On Monday, FIFA announced that the semi-final match has been shifted from Guwahati to Kolkata because of poor pitch conditions at the Indira Gandhi Athletic Stadium there. Soon after the announcement, demand for tickets in Kolkata skyrocketed with an online queue of more than a lakh registered on the FIFA site within an hour after it was thrown open.
“You are in an online queue for the FIFA U-17 World Cup India 2017 tickets. Once it is your turn, you will have 10 minutes to enter the website,” the message on the site read whenever someone logged in to buy tickets.
Those who failed to buy the tickets said that the site crashed during the 10-minute window. Some complained that they did not receive a ticket confirmation mail from the website despite receiving messages from banks confirming their payments.
“My number at the online queue was 32,400. After waiting for almost two hours, I finally managed to enter the website for 10 minutes. However, the site crashed and I could not place my orders. Later, I again tried and my number was at 66,000. This time the site crashed at the payment option page,” first-year BSc student of Sarsuna College, Archan Mukherjee told The Indian Express.
For school teacher Sujoy Mukherjee, the experience of buying tickets online was horrible because even after receiving confirmation message from the bank, he did not receive ticket confirmation mail from the FIFA website. “As an ardent football fan, I bought tickets online and attended most of the matches. When I heard that the semi-final match has been shifted here, I decided not to miss it. Even though money was deducted from my bank account, I did not get any ticket confirmation mail from the FIFA website,” Mukherjee told The Indian Express.
For the semi-final match, FIFA priced all tickets at Rs 100 and each person was allowed to buy only four tickets. After making two attempts to buy eight tickets, Mukherjee had paid Rs 800. “I don’t know whether I will get a refund. I have written to the website about it. Now I am waiting for their reply,” he added. There were, however, those lucky ones too who purchased the tickets online and redeemed them from the counters at the Salt Lake Stadium. FIFA officials had said that no offline tickets will be sold for the semi-final match and tickets will be available online only.
However, there were some who came to the stadium to buy tickets after failing to purchase them online. They left with disappointment as the counters displayed posters, informing that no tickets will be sold offline. “We are providing tickets to only those who have bought it online and have the ticket conformation mail from the website,” said an official at the counter.
Disheartened fans said FIFA officials should have sold tickets offline keeping in mind the huge online queue. “With more than a lakh people in online queue, there was no chance that we could get the tickets. As a football fan, I am very upset,” said a college student.