Tickets for the European football championships taking place in Switzerland and neighbouring Austria have gone on sale.This content was published on February 28, 2007 - 22:01
The authorities are issuing personalised tickets in a bid to prevent hooligans from spoiling one of Europe's biggest sporting events that starts in June next year.
Euro 2008 kicks off in less than 500 days with matches in Zurich, Basel, Geneva and the Swiss capital, Bern, as well as in four cities in Austria, including Vienna.
The European football association, Uefa, said 1,050,000 tickets would be printed for the 31 tournament games. Three-quarters of the tickets will be available for fans, said Uefa spokesman Wolfgang Eichler.
In an initial phase running until the end of March, 350,000 tickets are on sale to the general public via Uefa's online ticket office, www.euro2008.com. Lots will be drawn to decide the winners if demand exceeds the number of tickets available.
Each applicant may apply for one match per day and for a maximum of four tickets per match.
It will also be possible to buy tickets through other regular channels. Thirty-eight per cent of the tickets per match are reserved for the participating football associations.
Ticket prices range between SFr70 and SFr880 ($57.4-$721.2).
For each match in the four Swiss host cities 750 tickets will go on sale for local residents only.
Urs Frieden, a senior advisor to Bern's top-flight football side, Young Boys, and member of the local parliament, says the deal is fairly generous.
"Should for example 3,000 people in Bern be interested in a group match between Greece and Belgium, the chance of obtaining a ticket is one in four," he said.
Frieden points out that a number of additional free tickets will also be made available for families and friends of stewards and other people involved in organising the event.
Following the example of last year's World Cup in Germany, a match ticket can only be used by the person who originally buys it. This move is aimed at facilitating the identification of possible hooligans.
Frieden has some doubts about the practical use of such a measure: "It would take up to seven hours to check whether the ticket holder is the same person as the one who bought the ticket."
Nevertheless, Frieden says issuing personalised tickets is a preventive action and, together with video camera surveillance, will allow hooligans to be quickly identified.
He is confident that even an official Uefa ticket exchange, similar to the one in Germany last year and designed to combat black market sales, will not jeopardise security efforts.
He is certain a majority of tickets will remain in the hands of the original buyers. And even if a ticket is sold on, investigators will know exactly where to start their investigation.
swissinfo, based on a text in German by Renat Künzi
15 of the 31 Euro 2008 matches will be played in Switzerland and 16 in Austria.
Switzerland will play the opening match of the tournament at Basel's St Jakob's Park on June 7, 2008.
The final will be in Vienna on June 29.
Up to three million football fans are expected to come to Switzerland for Euro 2008.
The so-called Host Cities are obliged to broadcast matches in public places.
The organisers hope the world's third biggest sporting event will raise Switzerland's profile as a tourist destination.
The new anti-hooliganism law came into force on January 1.
Limited until the end of 2009, it introduces stadium bans, a national hooligan database, travel restrictions for known troublemakers and increased police powers.
This article was automatically imported from our old content management system. If you see any display errors, please let us know: firstname.lastname@example.org