Turmoil and triumph

2010-04-16 00:00

WHILE many football fans went home triumphantly clutching precious World Cup tickets yesterday, thousands were caught up in the turmoil created by computer glitches that meant sales at banks were very slow.

First National Bank, tasked with selling tickets to fans outside the host cities (which have ticketing centres), experienced technical difficulties connecting with the Fifa Match ticketing system, turning the first day of the fifth ticketing phase into a day of frustration for many.

FNB branches were scheduled to start selling tickets from 9 am, but the glitch meant sales only started at 2.30 pm. The bank kept its branches open until 5 pm to sell as many tickets as possible.

Head of FNB 2010 FWC marketing communication, Vicki Trehaeven, emphasised that the problem was experienced nationwide.

“The Fifa Match ticketing system was slow and we are extremely dependent on this ticketing system. We did our best to open up our FNB branch network to those who reside outside of the host cities,” Trehaeven said.

“We ask that the public please understand the pain our staff have gone through for a problem that was not of their making.”

When Pietermaritzburg branches began selling tickets in the afternoon, each purchased ticket took between 15 and 30 minutes to be processed. This increased the frustration, as queues were barely moving in some places.

FNB branches at Boom Street, Hayfields, Liberty Midlands Mall and Bank Street all had lines of about 100 people during the early hours of business, but these diminished as people heard news of the unavailability of their desired tickets and left.

School teacher Kenneth Jasson arrived at FNB in Boom Street at 5 am, and endured a long wait before learning that his preferred tickets had already been sold out by the ticketing offices.

“As you and I speak now, tickets are being sold,” said Jasson.

“We have been declined tickets in every other phase, and this was supposed to be an easy way for those who had failed to get tickets in the past to get their tickets.

“It’s a sad day for an ardent football supporter.”

Jasson’s patience was eventually rewarded when he purchased tickets at about 2.40 pm.

Another Pietermaritzburg resident, Jason Elkington, gave up after waiting at the Liberty Midlands Mall branch for over five hours without a ticket being sold.

“People outside of the host cities are suffering,” Elkington said.

“While ticketing offices are selling tickets, we are standing in a line that isn’t moving. By the time we get to the front, the tickets we have waited so long for will probably be gone.”

Trehaeven said that an official statement indicating how many tickets were sold by FNB could not be given yesterday, but she insisted that tickets are still available.

“We hope that tomorrow is a lot smoother and that the technical problems have been eradicated.”

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