FIFA releases more tickets to 2014 World Cup

Fletcher works with American referee Mark Geiger and fellow assistant Sean Hurd. (Alexandre Loureiro/Getty)

SAO PAULO, Brazil — FIFA will open a new round of ticket sales for the World Cup online on a first-come, first-serve basis on Wednesday.

About 345,000 tickets will be available for all matches except four — the opener, the two semifinals and the final.

Tickets will go on sale through FIFA’s website beginning at 1100 GMT. This round will remain open until April 1, but FIFA said "tickets are expected to sell out fast."

Of the 3.3 million tickets available for the first World Cup in Brazil since 1950, more than 2.3 million have already been allocated, mostly to Brazilian fans. FIFA said about 1.5 million tickets went to the general public, with the rest accounting for hospitality programs, commercial affiliates and other groups.

The last-minute sales phase is expected to start on April 15, also on a first-come, first-serve basis. A random draw for high-demand matches took place in the previous rounds for the 64 matches.

The number of available tickets for Wednesday’s round was higher than the 160,000 originally announced due to tickets returned by sponsors and the hospitality program, as well as unpaid tickets from the previous sales stage, FIFA said.

FIFA originally said tickets for two second-round matches and for two group matches in Manaus — England vs. Italy and United States vs. Portugal — also wouldn’t be available beginning on Wednesday because of high demand previously. It didn’t say exactly how many tickets will now be available for those matches.

The matches with the highest demand so far were the opener between Brazil and Croatia on June 12 in Sao Paulo and the final at Maracana Stadium on July 13 in Rio de Janeiro. The semifinals will be in Sao Paulo and in Belo Horizonte.

FIFA said fans from 212 countries and territories have already secured tickets. Brazilians got 57 per cent of them, totalling 906,433. Americans grabbed 125,465, followed by Colombians (60,231) and Germans (55,666).

FIFA marketing director Thierry Weil said recently the 2014 tournament was "the most successful World Cup" in terms of requests, with more than 10 million people trying to get a hold of tickets.

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