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Euro 2008 to scrap personalised ticket checks

Written by: Staff
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BERN, July 6 (Reuters) Organisers of the 2008 European Championship will not carry out pre-match security checks based on named tickets after the complications surrounding the ticketing system at the World Cup.

FIFA and the German organising committee said before the World Cup that no supporter would be admitted to stadiums unless the name on their ticket matched that on their passport or ID card.

In the event only two percent of fans had their tickets checked and touts had a field day.

''The concept used in Germany was very good in theory but it didn't really work in practice,'' Austria's Euro 2008 tournament director Christian Schmoelzer told Reuters today.

''Because of the large number of people turning up for every match, it just wasn't possible to check everybody and if you can only check a very small minority of ticket holders, it puts the whole concept in doubt.'' Schmoelzer said Euro 2008 tickets would still carry the name of the person who originally bought them, either visibly or in electronic form.

''This means we can still trace the original buyer in the event of a problem,'' Schmoelzer said.

''Someone who buys a ticket for himself and the maximum of three friends can therefore still be held responsible for the behaviour of his whole party.'' LARGER SHARE Euro 2008 kicks off in the Swiss city of Basel on June 7 with the final at Vienna's Ernst-Happel stadium on June 29.

Matches will also take place in Bern, Geneva, Zurich, Innsbruck, Klagenfurt and Salzburg.

Qualifying for the competition begins in October this year, with tickets going on sale from March 2007.

Euro 2008 organisers are promising to free up a greater percentage of tickets to ''genuine fans'' following criticism that too many World Cup tickets were apportioned to VIPs, sponsors and the media.

''We will be issuing around 20 percent of match tickets to each of the countries involved in the particular matches, compared to something like eight to nine percent at the World Cup,'' Schmoelzer said.

''In addition we will offer another 35 percent of tickets to the general public via the UEFA website which means that up to 75 percent of the crowd will be regular supporters.'' Organisers also want to make tickets at the European Championship cheaper than at the World Cup.

''The prices still have to be finalised but at the very least we are promising that the tickets will not be more expensive than in Germany.'' Schmoelzer said Euro 2008 organisers had been impressed by much of what they had seen in Germany.

The ''fan miles'', incorporating secure public viewing areas for thousands of ticketless supporters to watch matches on giant screens, was seen as a particularly successful idea which the Swiss and Austrian organisers are keen to build on in 2008.

''All eight of the Euro 2008 venues had representatives in Germany and it's our plan to organise at least one official fan zone at each venue, with the host cities also providing additional attractions,'' Schmoelzer said.

REUTERS PM VC1755

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