Soccer fans slammed the Hong Kong Football Association (HKFA) for poor ticketing arrangements for the Nov. 17 match between Hong Kong and China at Mongkok Stadium, Apple Daily reported Thursday.
Two elderly men needed medical treatment after feeling unwell while lining up Wednesday for the open sale of concessionary tickets, for seniors and students, priced at HK$50 each.
One of them was taken to hospital.
The other, a 70-year-old surnamed Lai, who broke his glasses and injured his face when he passed out and fell to the ground, insisted on not leaving the queue.
Lai ended up empty-handed, however, as the tickets were quickly sold out.
HKFA chairman Brian Leung Hung-tak said seniors could ask their friends to buy tickets for them instead of coming in person.
“We specially opened a counter at Mongkok Stadium for ticket sales, considering seniors might not be web-savvy enough to purchase online,” Leung said.
He said the arrangements were fine and there was not much room for further improvement.
Many local fans were expecting that 1,000 tickets would be up for grabs at the stadium Wednesday, but only 586 were in fact available for sale.
A further 100 concessionary tickets were put up for sale online at the same time.
Some seniors who failed to get a ticket were seen trying to crash open the steel gate of Mongkok Stadium after they were prevented from entering it once the concessionary tickets were sold out.
Police officers arrived and stood by while a member of the HKFA staff came out to explain that the association never said there would be 1,000 concessionary tickets for sale.
Many fans hit out at the HKFA for its unclear messages about the onsite ticket sales arrangements.
Leung said there would always be people who would complain, whichever way the HKFA chose to sell the tickets.
He said newspaper reports could be misleading, reiterating that he never said 1,000 tickets would be sold at the stadium’s box office.
The 2,400 tickets available online from 10 a.m. Wednesday were sold out by 12:32 p.m.
Three Chinese University of Hong Kong students waited for 18 hours outside the stadium to become the first buyers.
The trio said they would do all they could to support the Hong Kong team.
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