The 2010 World Cup in South Africa is certain to draw spectators from all over the world and from various walks of life. But with ticket prices averaging $139 per ticket, according to Cup governing body FIFA, and household incomes varying widely throughout the country, it would be difficult for large portions of the South African population to attend the games. According to a plan announced last week, this worry may be a thing of the past.

Out of the 3 million tickets expected to be sold to the event, 120,000 of the lowest-priced tickets will be held for the poorest sections of the South African population and distributed freely. According to Tumi Makgabo, the spokesperson of the South Africa 2010 Local Organising Committee (SALOC), the cost of supplying the tickets would be covered by the sponsors of the event.

The country of South Africa has a population of just over 38 million, with around 57 percent of the country living below the poverty line. It is hoped that the exposure offered by the World Cup will help increase tourism in the country, and aid in decreasing the number of households struggling within the nation. The offer of free tickets to those who would otherwise be unable to afford them will allow all of South Africa to share in this historic event. As for other residents of the country hoping to get a chance to attend the World Cup, Makgabo stressed that SALOC wants to make sure that as many South Africans as possible can attend games.

Early fear around the world that South Africa would be unable to build enough facilities to house both athletes and soccer fields has also abated in recent weeks, with FIFA approving of the recent progress made in the construction of new fields. With South Africa on track, Makgabo estimates that tickets for the 2010 World Cup will go on sale “in the second half of 2009.” The World Cup will be held from June 11-July 11, 2010.

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