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WORLD CUP NOTES

Washington Post

Tens of thousands of soccer fans around the globe who thought they would be attending much-anticipated World Cup matches in France are discovering they have paid for tickets that do not exist.

Tourists from the United States, Japan, England, Belgium and the Netherlands who have been preparing to depart for France--and some who have arrived there--are discovering they have been left empty-handed by agents who took their money and promised them tickets the agents had no guarantee of obtaining.

French World Cup organizing committee officials, emphasized that they fulfilled their responsibilities by distributing to authorized tour operators all the tickets tour operators had been designated to receive.

Authorized travel agents receive tickets from the organizing committee. Unauthorized agents promise clients tickets, then try to obtain them.

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Eight Japanese travel agencies held an emergency meeting Thursday and compared notes about the soccer tickets. That was when they realized that they could not fulfill their orders for about 10,000 tickets.

About 700 Brazilian fans did not receive tickets they had ordered for Wednesday’s game between Brazil and Scotland.

As many as 40,000 English soccer supporters paid for tickets they did not receive. The British Department of Trade and Industry raided a travel agency, Great Portland Entertainments Ltd., that it said had sold tickets to 40,000 British buyers and not delivered them. The firm has been closed and charges are pending.


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