(WFI) Brazil 2014 World Cup tickets are now on sale via FIFA’s website.

The first sales phase began at 12:00 CET today (7am Brasilia time) and ends 10 October.

The cheapest World Cup tickets for international fans will cost $90 and $15 for Brazilian residents. For overseas fans, ticket prices for the opening game range from $220 to $495. The cheapest for the final at Rio’s famed Maracana stadium are $440 dollars, with the most expensive costing $990.

The cheapest discounted tickets, costing $15, are available for students, over-60s and those on the social welfare programme.

FIFA’s director of marketing Thierry Weil, who is responsible for ticket sales, said the date on which tickets are requested was not important during this period. All applications will be processed together at the end of the sales phase.

If the number of requests received per game and category exceeds the number of tickets available, a ballot will be held to determine the successful applicants.

Weil yesterday launched the Ticketing Fan Guide with details on all the steps required to purchase tickets to FIFA’s flagship competition in Brazil, kicking off June 12.

Lessons from the Confederations Cup had informed the ticketing process for the 2014 competition. To improve the sales system FIFA has opened more ticket distribution centres “in locations that are easy for people to access”, he said, “these centres will also be open earlier. The plan is to have them working by 15 April, with the Brazilian population in mind first and foremost”.

FIFA has also announced a new option of requesting tickets for home delivery by post. “Fans will be able to choose either to collect tickets at distribution centres or have them delivered to their home address, anywhere in the world,” Weil explained.

Postal delivery is not available for requests involving clients eligible for concessions, who should present documentation to confirm their eligibility: those over 60 years old, students and recipients of the Bolsa Familia family grant.

Nearly a million tickets are on sale in the first sales phase, of which at least 300,000 will be Category 4, offered on a priority basis to those eligible for these concessions.

“Personally, I imagine we will face demand similar to that seen in Germany in 2006, when there were, on average, seven applicants for each ticket,” Weil told FIFA.com.

“But each situation is very specific. In South Africa in 2010, for instance, we sold 1.9 million tickets but the bulk of those were sold during the tournament, just before games, as culturally that’s how tickets are bought there.”

Valcke Confident in Sao Paulo Stadium Delivery

Despite delays in construction, FIFA secretary general Jerome Valcke believes Sao Paulo’s new stadium will be finished by the Dec. 31 completion deadline set for the remaining six World Cup stadia.

After an inspection visit on Monday, Valcke expressed confidence in the project, which was said to be three months behind schedule before he ordered Brazil 2014 organisers to accelerate building work.

“I remember that during the Confederations Cup we had an emergency meeting because we were afraid about when this stadium would be delivered,” Valcke was quoted in an Associated Press report.

“And I can tell you that, yes,

Valcke at Sao Paulo’s Itaquerao Stadium on Aug. 19 (Getty)

the stadium will be given on time and, yes, it will be ready to organise the opening game of the World Cup and also for test events here before this opening game.”

He added: “We are confident, we are very happy,” Valcke said during the stadium visit. The pitch has just been installed. “The grass seems already beautiful. In a few weeks, it will be ready to host the games. So again, what has been done is just amazing.”

The FIFA No.2 visited São Paulo and Curitiba yesterday, part of his latest inspection tour to assess progress in the 12 World Cup cities. Valcke is in Manaus on Tuesday and attends an LOC board meeting on Thursday in Rio de Janeiro before flying back to Switzerland.

Brazil sports minister Aldo Rebelo claimed the stadium was 86 percent completed.

On his visit to Curitiba’s Arena da Baixada, Valcke was told that the stadium would be deliverd on time.

The first test event is scheduled on 26 January 2014. The home of Atletico Paranaense will host four World Cup group stage fixtures next summer.

“We made a request to the city, the state and the club in relation to the progress of construction of the retractable roof, so that the contractual timeframe could be met,” Valcke was quoted on FIFA.com.

“The three parties agreed and we can now confirm that the stadium will be delivered not only in time for the World Cup, but in December, allowing time for test events vital to the success of the tournament. That’s why we have left feeling really confident in Curitiba and its readiness for the big event,” he added.

Concerns Over Soaring Hotel Prices

Price hikes for hotel accommodation listed on FIFA’s website are raising concerns.

MATCH Services is under scrutiny after it emerged that many hotel rates will be between 200 and 500 percent more expensive than those listed by the FIFA-appointed agency handling accommodation for the tournament.

Brazil’s tourism board was quoted by AP as saying that MATCH Services was “exercising intermediation fees that are a lot higher than usually exercised in the tourism market, harming the rights of potential consumers.”

It compared hotel prices in the 12 host cities via booking websites, the hotels’ own sites and FIFA’s site. Of 65 hotels listed in its results, 22 had increased prices more than 200 percent, six at least 300 percent higher. One hotel in Salvador was charging $509 per night during the World Cup – a 583 percent increase compared to the $75 if offered last month.

Responding to the criticism, MATCH Services claimed it offered a transparent price structure. “With a small number of exceptions where MATCH Services has had to accept higher than normal rates, all other participating hotels have accepted and agreed to embrace FIFA’s and MATCH’s policy to provide reasonably acceptable rates,” the Swiss-based company said in a statement.

MATCH is also in charge of the official hospitality programme for the tournament.

By INSIDER editor Mark Bisson

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