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AFCON 2023: half-empty stadiums and inaccessible tickets

AFCON 2023: half-empty stadiums and inaccessible tickets
People in front of the Stade Olympique Alassane Ouattara B'Ebimpe before the match between   -  
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Sunday Alamba/Copyright 2024 The AP. All rights reserved

Ivory Coast

Fans hoping to attend matches at the 2023 Africa Cup of Nations have been frustrated in their efforts to secure tickets as matches are played in half-empty stadiums.

Tournament organizers acknowledged ticketing issues for the opening match on Wednesday, but have failed to resolve potential problems preventing fans from attending other matches so far.

“Although there were some printing issues on the first day of the CAN due to last-minute bulk purchases of physical tickets, the ticketing system has since been adapted to accommodate such requests,” said the Confederation of African Football (CAF) in a press release.

CAF said the system was “working well” with more than 60% of tickets sold through its online platform internationally.

The 2023 Africa Cup Organizing Committee (COCAN) maintains that the reason there were empty seats for Ivory Coast's match against Guinea-Bissau, in the opening match at the stadium Alassane Ouattara, with a capacity of 60,000 seats, was due to "dead seats": places with reduced visibility or safety seats.

Excluding these seats, the stadium would have a useful capacity of 50,786 seats. However, the stadium commentator had reported an attendance of 36,858 people for the opening match, previously announced as sold out.

The next day, in the same stadium, there were less than 10,000 fans during the match between Nigeria and Equatorial Guinea. Many seats were also empty at the Félix Houphouët-Boigny stadium in Abidjan for the matches between Egypt and Mozambique, and between Ghana and Cape Verde, on Sunday.

Monday in Yamoussoukro, Cameroonian and Guinean supporters were furious at not being able to access their team's match despite many seats available inside. Local media reported that Ivory Coast Prime Minister Robert Beugré Mambé said on Monday that he would personally take charge of the problem and that "you will see results within 48 hours. "

CAF confirmed on Wednesday that it was responsible for ticket sales. In collaboration with COCAN, they encouraged local fans to try one of the 51 outlets in Ivory Coast to purchase physical tickets for matches.

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