Johannesburg: About 700 people pushed and shoved and organisers threatened to shut down a World Cup ticket centre as fans scrambled for a last chance to watch the tournament`s biggest games - only to discover that FIFA`s systems had crashed.
Two hours into final release, no one had been able to buy any of the 160,000 tickets still available for the world`s biggest football tournament.
FIFA said ticket service provider Match was experiencing "significant delays" due to technical problems across all sales channels, which include FIFA`s own ticket centres as well as local bank branches.
FNB, the bank which acts as a World Cup ticket distributor in South Africa, said FIFA`s ticketing system crashed again today morning due to a volume overload.
"This is despite guarantees and promises given to FNB from FIFA`s ticketing agent Match, as well as from FIFA secretary general Jerome Valcke ... that there would be no further ticketing issues," FNB`s 2010 marketing head Vicki Trehaeven said in a statement.
Trehaeven said FNB had no indication of when FIFA`s ticketing system will be operational again. She said FNB was "as disappointed as the fans."
Chief organiser Danny Jordaan said he wanted to "sincerely apologise" to the fans, some of whom had been queueing for two days, for today`s problems.
Valcke said FIFA had demanded a full report from Match.
Earlier, hopeful supporters at FIFA`s ticket office in the upscale Johannesburg suburb of Sandton had jostled for position as 90,000 additional tickets, including seats for both semifinals and more than 800 for the July 11 final, were about to be added to the main batch.
People forced their way into the queues, according to fans, and some were pushed up against the doors of the ticket centre. Police were present and an official told impatient supporters that they would not be allowed in if they did not calm down. Queues spilled out of the building and down the sidewalk.