Brazilian prosecutors want FIFA and local World Cup organizers to pay nearly $2M in damages "for alleged ticket irregularities at a Confederations Cup venue," according to the AP. Prosecutors said that "organizers did not provide the services that fans paid for at the Arena Pernambuco." FIFA's agent in tickets sales, MATCH Services, "has also been included" in the court action. Many fans complained that their seats were not as good as shown when they made the purchases, "and that some ticket orders forced people to sit in opposite sides of the stadium" (AP, 12/23). SOWETAN LIVE reported prosecutors said that "they hope the lawsuit will help prevent the same problem from happening again during next year's World Cup, a tournament for which FIFA has already sold nearly 1.2 million tickets." Nearly 3.3 million tickets in total "will be sold for football's showcase event next year." Prosecutor Guilherme Lapenda said, "The action is aimed at guaranteeing that consumers receive exactly what they pay for." FIFA and MATCH this month had already been fined more than $200,000 each by consumer rights officials "because of the problems at the Arena Pernambuco." Fans said that "they turned to prosecutors because FIFA and MATCH did nothing after hearing their complaints." Messages seeking comment sent to FIFA, MATCH and local World Cup organizers "were not immediately returned" (SOWETAN LIVE, 12/23).
Leagues and Governing Bodies
The four Welsh regions "will not meet next week's deadline" to continue their participation agreement with the Welsh Rugby Union as the dispute over the funding and control of the professional game in the country "heads to the high court," according to Paul Rees of the London GUARDIAN. The WRU's board discussed the issue after Friday's meeting in Dublin between the Six Nations involved in the Heineken Cup "succeeded only in aborting the five-country tournament, excluding England, that had been agreed last month." French Rugby Federation President Pierre Camou had said that French participation "hinged on the tournament being run by Fira, the organisation made up of the smaller unions, as a precursor to a major shake-up of the way the game in Europe is organised" (GUARDIAN, 12/23).