A lottery for tickets for the three group matches involving Switzerland at the Euro 2008 football championships in June has seen demand exceed supply 50 times over.This content was published on February 16, 2008 - 18:39
In the final chance to attend the matches, a total of 278,000 requests for 765,000 tickets – fans can buy a maximum of four tickets per game – were made during the weeklong online draw, which ended at noon on Saturday.
Unfortunately there are only 5,600 tickets available for each of the three matches in which co-host Switzerland is taking part.
The winners – and losers – now have an agonising wait until the middle of March, when they will find out by email whether they will be watching their team in the flesh or in the pub.
Of Switzerland's three group matches – against the Czech Republic, Turkey and Portugal, all of which will be played at the St Jakob's Park stadium in Basel – tickets for the Portuguese match were the hottest, according to the Swiss Football Association (SFA).
The tickets were only on offer to Swiss residents. Although the names of the purchaser and his or her guests will be registered by the SFA for security purposes, they will not appear on the tickets.
The SFA received 7,747 tickets from Uefa for each Swiss match. This represents about 20 per cent of the capacity of the Basel stadium. Of these, the SFA will sell 5,600 tickets per game to the public. The remainder will be kept for sponsors and people involved in football.
The SFA has no tickets available to sell for group games Switzerland is not participating in.
The lottery organisers said all applicants had an equal chance of getting tickets regardless of when they registered, but priority would be given to so-called loyal fans.
These are fans who have attended at least eight of the national team's last 16 games. This is no mean feat considering that eight games were played away.
Tickets can only be paid for by credit card. It will also be possible to book tickets for the quarter and semi-finals for which Switzerland might qualify. However purchasers will have to have previously registered for group-stage tickets.
As for the final in Vienna on June 29, no arrangements are in place for distributing tickets to Swiss fans should Switzerland defy the odds and run out on the pitch that day.
swissinfo with agencies
Switzerland vs Czech Republic (June 7, 2008) SFr110 ($100) to SFr400
Switzerland vs Turkey (June 11. 2008) SFr70 to SFr 175
Switzerland vs Portugal (June 15. 2008) SFr70 to SFr 175
Quarterfinal tickets SFr95 to SFr 290
Semi-final tickets SFr130 to SFr 480
Ticket prices include use of public transport in Switzerland and Austria on the day of the match and the following day until midday.
Co-hosts Switzerland and Austria qualified automatically for the tournament, which takes place from June 7-29, 2008.
The 31 games will be played in four cities in Switzerland (Basel, Bern, Geneva and Zurich) and four cities in Austria (Innsbruck, Klagenfurt, Salzburg and Vienna). The final will be held in Vienna on June 29. Switzerland will play its three group matches in Basel.
The finals will be broadcast in 170 countries and are expected to be watched by about eight billion TV viewers.
Up to 5.4 million football fans are expected to follow the tournament in Switzerland, including 1.4 million from abroad.
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