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Olympics Get Some Competition

Times Staff Writer

Organizers of the 2004 European Championship in Portugal got a jump on their Olympic Games counterparts Monday by placing tickets on sale one month before Athens 2004 does so.

The first batch of 450,000 tickets from an eventual total of 1.2 million went on sale over the Internet (www.euro2004.com).

Purchasers are limited to no more than four tickets a game for the June 12-July 4 tournament, to be staged at 10 stadiums in eight Portuguese cities.

For security reasons and to help thwart scalpers, the buyer’s name will be printed on each ticket.

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“We aim to ensure that the ticket purchaser ... is held responsible to identify, either to the organizers or the Portuguese authorities, who they passed other tickets on to,” Antonio Laranjo, director of the quadrennial 16-nation event, said in Lisbon.

Tickets range in price from $38 for a first-round match to $297 for the final and will not be distributed until May.

At Euro 2000, staged by Belgium and the Netherlands, 93% of all tickets were sold.

Women Qualify

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Argentina and Brazil have qualified for the fourth FIFA Women’s World Cup, scheduled to take place in China Sept. 23-Oct. 11.

Brazil successfully defended its South American title and won a place in China 2003 by routing Colombia, 12-0, in Lima, Peru, with San Jose CyberRay forward Katia scoring five goals. Earlier, Brazil edged Argentina, 3-2, and shut out Peru, 3-0.

Argentina reached the World Cup by finishing second in the 10-nation tournament’s final round.

After losing to Brazil, it defeated Colombia, 3-2, and tied Peru, 1-1.

SARS Update

Showing more confidence than health officials in the containment of the SARS virus, the Asian Football Confederation (AFC) has rescheduled several tournaments that had been postponed because of the outbreak of severe acute respiratory syndrome.

The AFC said that the Asian qualifying tournament for the Women’s World Cup will take place in Bangkok, Thailand, June 10-22, and that Asian qualifying for the 2004 Olympic Games will resume Sept. 10 and extend into May 2004.

“Football should not aggravate the already difficult situation of the SARS epidemic,” Peter Velappan, the AFC general secretary, said after a meeting of confederation officials in Doha, Qatar.

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Zidane on Beckham

World Cup winner and European champion Zinedine Zidane of France says that if Real Madrid makes a serious bid to lure David Beckham away from Manchester United, the England captain will not be able to resist.

“When Madrid come for you, they make it almost impossible to turn them down,” Zidane told England’s Sunday Mirror newspaper.

“Beckham would find himself in a similar position.”

Beckham is said to be the next to join Real’s glittering array of talent that already includes Roberto Carlos, Raul, Luis Figo and Zidane, among many others.

Quick Passes

Britain’s Prince Andrew Monday unveiled a statue of Bobby Moore, the captain of England’s 1966 World Cup-winning team, at West Ham United, Moore’s former club. Moore died of cancer a decade ago.... Barcelona extended Coach Radomir Antic’s contract for one more season.... Mexico routed Jamaica, 5-0, in Mexico City to join the United States and Costa Rica in qualifying for the FIFA Under-17 World Championship in Finland in August.... Rangers and Scotland midfielder Barry Ferguson was named Scottish player of the year by the Scottish players union.... English newspapers reported that England will decline its allocation of 4,000 tickets to the Turkey-England Euro 2004 qualifying match in Istanbul in October in order to avoid the fan rioting that marred their previous match in England.


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