World Cup stadium delays force fans to switch tickets

RIO DIEIRO Sat Jun 7, 2014 12:51pm EDT

A street busker spins a soccer ball outside the Maracana stadium in Rio de Janeiro ahead of the 2014 World Cup, June 6, 2014.   REUTERS/Paul Hanna

A street busker spins a soccer ball outside the Maracana stadium in Rio de Janeiro ahead of the 2014 World Cup, June 6, 2014.

Credit: Reuters/Paul Hanna

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RIO DIEIRO (Reuters) - More than 1,000 fans planning to attend World Cup matches in Brazil have been forced to switch seats after stadium building delays and changes to signage compelled a reconfigurement of some seating plans, local organisers said on Saturday.

Emails were sent to 1,376 fans telling them to exchange their tickets for others of the same category but in a different section of several of the 12 tournament stadiums.

The substitutions were forced upon organisers by the delay in completing the stadiums, a problem that has dogged preparations for several years and continues to do so less than a week before the opening match between Brazil and Croatia in Sao Paulo next Thursday.

A FIFA media spokesman said that officials had contacted ticketholders in advance to prevent confusion or delays on match days and that the changes affected only a tiny proportion of the 2.2 million tickets sold.

"The very nature of proactively contacting the customers about problems with seats should illustrate the extra effort that FIFA is undertaking in order to ensure that the seats exist on match day at the stadia or that alternative seats will be provided," said a FIFA spokesman.

"This was not possible for the Confederations Cup (where there were similar problems) and every effort is being taken in the World Cup to proactively communicate with the customers. It is in the best interest of the customer to get their ticket in advance of match day to avoid having any challenges at the stadium on a match day.

"Every day we are reviewing and inspecting seats as there are still temporary elements that are being installed within the stadiums. So we will continue to monitor and will proactively communicate with customers where possible," FIFA said in a statement.

(Editing by Justin Palmer)

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