Football fans were seen queuing up outside the Mongkok Stadium as early as 4 pm on Tuesday in a bid to grab tickets for the upcoming World Cup qualifier match between Hong Kong and China.
As authorities prepared to launch open sale of 1,000 concessionary tickets from 10 am Wednesday, some people had stood in line through the night, Apple Daily reported.
The much-anticipated soccer match between the Hong Kong and China national teams will take place on November 17.
Apart from the 1,000 concessionary tickets that were on sale at the Mongkok Stadium, about 3,000 tickets were supposed to be made available through the ticketing website cityline.com at 10 am Wednesday.
However, fans had a tough time getting the tickets online as the website apparently crashed due to the heavy load.
Many people complained that they were unable to log in to cityline.com. As of 11 am, the website was still showing this message: “Online ticket booking system is currently very busy, please try again later.”
The Nov. 17 game forms a vital part of Round Two of the Asia Division’s Group C for the 2018 FIFA World Cup tournament that will be held in Russia. Hong Kong is currently in the second place in the group with ten points from five games, three more than the third-placed China team.
The Hong Kong Football Association (HKFA) has been facing difficulties in satisfying local football fans as the spectacle will be held at the 6,600-seat Mongkok Stadium, instead of the Hong Kong Stadium which can pack in 40,000 people.
Given the limited supply of tickets, which are priced at HK$150 apiece, the HKFA has make drastic cut on internal sale of tickets, offering none to football teams across Division One, Two and Three, while the nine Hong Kong Premier League clubs were given a quota of ten tickets each.
All HKFA top brass, including the president, chairman and directors, can each opt to buy 20 tickets, on top of the two complimentary tickets they are given each.
The 23 members of Hong Kong team will each receive four complimentary tickets.
After deducting the tickets reserved for sponsors and around a thousand seasonal tickets, the number of tickets available to the public will be down to around 4,000, with a thousand being the HK$50 concessionary tickets for seniors and students.
First in the line outside the Mongkok Stadium was a student surnamed Szeto, who said he had earlier watched Hong Kong’s home game versus Bhutan in June at the same stadium, Apple Daily noted.
The second person in the queue, a person surnamed Chan, said China probably stands a better chance of winning the match against Hong Kong, but he would still like to show his support for the home team.
Mainland fans, who have been allocated 530 tickets, will be seated in a dedicated zone.
Hong Kong team striker Chan Siu-ki and head coach Kim Pan Gon, meanwhile, greeted and thanked the local fans queuing up for tickets.
“We absolutely need our fans to be behind us in each game,” Chan said.
“We thank them for queuing up overnight to cheer for us on the pitch, and we hope we can repay their support with a win.”
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