Only 2,000 tickets will be available for Hong Kong football fans who want to watch the World Cup qualifier against China in Shenzhen next month, and admittance will cost them about 1,000 HKD (800 yuan) a pop.
Visiting teams usually receive eight percent of the tickets available at the home stadium. Seeing as Shenzhen’s Baoan Stadium seats 40,000, eight percent of which is 3,200, some Hong Kong football supporters speculated that they were allotted fewer tickets as “punishment” for booing the national anthem during two matches at their home field.
Pan-democrat lawmaker Leung Kwok-hung likewise accused the China Football Association (CFA) of purposely limiting the number of Hong Kong fans to be let into stadium on September 3.
Hong Kong Football Association (HKFA) vice-chairman Pui Kwan-kay, who assisted Leung in Beijing last month to meet with CFA chairman Cai Zhenhua and discuss the match, insists this is not the case, according to SCMP:
“The venue can hold 40,000 spectators but they only sell about 80 per cent of tickets due to security reasons,” he said. “And 2,000 tickets for the visiting team is not too far away from that [2,560], bearing in mind that 8 per cent is only an indicative figure as the organisers have discretion over ticket sales.”
The highest-priced tickets for the game will be a “staggering” 1,680 yuan (HK$2,100), with the next tier at 800 yuan. In comparison, at the ongoing East Asian Cup Championship in Wuhan where China are playing against the likes of Japan and South Korea, ticket prices are 160 yuan to 320 yuan.
Pui denied the high prices were to “scare off” Hong Kong fans accustomed to paying much less for national team matches.
“The highest-priced tickets are for the best seating and won’t be given to visiting fans,” said Pui. “We understand they will allocate seats for Hong Kong fans behind either goals and it should be much cheaper.
Hongkongers planning on traveling to see the game must purchase their tickets online using mainland travel permit.