While the dust is beginning to
settle on
the scramble for Australian World Cup tickets, the gripes from
unsuccessful
applicants grow louder. And a picture of the ticket allocation process
is
beginning to emerge that shows wild inconsistencies under the official
“first-in first-served” policy the Football Federation of Australia
said would
be used to distribute the tickets.

Football fans who got their applications in
at, say, a second or two past 9am on 20 December last year
could reasonably expect to have been close to getting tickets. But it seems
many who applied within seconds of 9am haven’t been successful,
while others who applied much later have.

SEN had a caller who got tickets with an application that was sent 30
seconds after the official time, but another World Cup hopeful who contacted
Crikey said he was unsuccessful with an application lodged just eight seconds
after the official opening time.

Another Crikey reader
wrote to us saying she’d lodged two separate applications (for different
people) at the same time – “on the dot of 9am (at the 3rd stroke)”. Only one of the applications was
successful. To further confuse
matters, with the official clock on the FFA website running one minute slow, anyone who lodged
applications “at the third stroke” should have been disqualified for lodging
too early.

Another successful applicant who contacted
us said his application was sent up to 10 minutes after the start time, but he
was still successful in getting tickets to all three group games. Those who
unsuccessfully lodged applications within seconds
of 9am will not be happy to hear that.

The official explanation from the FFA, as given to Crikey
yesterday, is that “all application forms were
processed in the order they were received by the FFA Travel system. This means that the time sent
from an applicant’s system is not determinative.”

Further: “All
of the applications came into a single email mail box, including all
emails and all faxes. Essentially, the
system created a chronological queue based on the time of receipt of the
application. From this point, FFA Travel processed each application in the order
received.”

So those poor bods who
sent off applications at the right time but still missed out should be narky
with their email providers rather than with the FFA. That’s what the FFA would like anyway.

Still, as the FFA pointed out, the heavy demand meant only 6% of applications received
were successful. Any way you look at it, that’s going to leave a lot of unhappy
campers.

Peter Fray

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Peter Fray
Editor-in-chief of Crikey

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