Wed, Jan 26, 2005 - Page 19 News List

Sports Quick Take

AGENCIES

■ Soccer

WC 2006 tickets go on sale

Ticket sales for the 2006 World Cup will begin at midnight on Feb. 1, with 812,000 available during the first phase. Demand is expected to dwarf supply and organizers are seeking to forestall internet chaos on Feb. 1 by dealing with ticket applications in a lottery at the end of the first sales period, rather than on a first come, first served basis. The first sales window will be open until March 31, organizers announced on Monday. The total number of tickets on sale for the tournament will be 2.93 million. "People should take their time, study the match schedule and then apply within the given time frame," organizing committee vice-president Horst Schmidt said. The World Cup finals kick off on June 9 next year.

Ticket prices were settled some time ago. They start at 35 euros for the cheapest seats at the group matches and go up to 600 euros (US$784) for the most expensive seats at the final.

■ Betting

Hong Kong sms-gang caught

A betting syndicate in Hong Kong placed spies at English and Spanish soccer matches to fleece bookmakers by text-messaging scorelines from overseas, police said on Monday. The spies used mobile phones to send news of goalscorers back to Hong Kong faster than scores were updated on the Internet, allowing syndicate members time to place bets on who would score next. The syndicate targetted betting Web sites that accept bets on which player or team will score the next goal while a match is in progress, a police spokesman said. Spies were sent to matches in England, Spain, Portugal and Holland and bets of US$1,300 were placed at a time, detectives believe. Twenty people aged 18 to 35 were arrested over the weekend in connection with the syndicate's activities.

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