Sunday, April 29, 2012

Just the ticket for 2012

More tickets go on sale tomorrow for the 2012 Olympic Games football tournament.

The latest batch is available online from 11am Monday 30th April until 11pm Sunday 6th May.

However, according to IOC rules, only residents of the UK and European nations are eligible to apply via the website. If you are US-based, then CoSport remains the official ticket supplier, but fear not if you don't know your plans yet.

This is the third sales phase and another is scheduled for next month when an additional 100,000 tickets are released. When hospitality packages return their unsold batches closer to the start date, more will become available and it has been announced that sales booths will be set up in Britain in July.

The organisers LOCOG have been very coy in announcing how many tickets have been sold for any sport this summer, but it is clear both from previous Olympics and from this year's calendar that football will struggle to fill every seat, especially outside the capital.

Only five of the 58 football matches have sold out so far according to LOCOG: Great Britain v Uruguay (men) in Cardiff, plus the men's knock-out games (QF, SF and Final) and women's final at Wembley.

An indication of the difficulty in shifting football tickets is the news that Great Britain's women's opener against New Zealand has only shifted 10,000 so far.

London apart (cap. 90,000), the football venues selected may ultimately prove to have been too large for the demand:

Manchester - 76,000
Cardiff - 74,000
Glasgow - 52,000
Newcastle - 52,000
Coventry - 32,000

The distance from London could prove problematic for overseas visitors, involving overnight stays. Will Gabon v Switzerland sell out St James' Park, Newcastle on July 26th? Or how about the Colombian women v North Korea's in Glasgow a day earlier? Unlikely.

When London and not Britain was awarded the games, why weren't more stadia in the capital used instead? Arsenal holds 60,000, Spurs 41,800 and Chelsea 34,000. Plus Twickenham rugby stadium's 82,000 capacity could have come in very useful. Alas, the political pressure to give the rest of a southern-centric nation a bite of the cherry told, and thus some supporters face the trek west to Wales or north to Scotland in order to watch some of London 2012.

Don't quote me on this, but my guess is it will still be possible to get tickets if you turn up on the day. This is not the World Cup, and not many here are excited about a host team which has not been in the finals since 1960 and has not even existed since 1972. Brits just don't understand soccer in the Olympics, for now.

The USWNT open in Glasgow and Manchester in Group G and cannot play in London until the semi-final at Wembley on August 6th. Chances are the US will advance to a quarter-final in Newcastle on August 3rd, before a semi-final in Manchester three days later.

USA v France 5pm, Wed July 25th, Hampden Park, Glasgow
USA v Colombia 5pm, Sat July 28th, Hampden Park, Glasgow
USA v North Korea 5.15pm, Tue July 31st, Old Trafford, Manchester

Quarter-Finals August 3rd -
Group G winner - 2.30pm Newcastle
Group G 2nd place - 12pm Glasgow
Group F/G 3rd place - 7.30pm Coventry

The women's final is at Wembley at 7.45pm on Thursday August 9th, with the bronze-medal match 1pm the same day in Coventry.

Men's tournament
Women's tournament 
London 2012 Official site
Official Soccer 2012 Merchandise

-Sean O'Conor, London

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