FIFA has apologised for tweets regarding ticketing for the forthcoming Women’s World Cup that were “published without a full understanding of the situation” and says it is “confident the problems will be solved”.
The governing body faced a backlash on Monday after fans who bought groups of tickets found they were not necessarily seated together.
A two-part message on the tournament’s official Twitter account then stressed that ticketing arrangements could not be changed, saying it had made clear at the time of purchase that “not all seats would be located next to each other.”
It added that “an exception could be made for parents whose seats are not next to the seats of their underage children”.
Disgruntled fans replied, calling the situation “ridiculous” and demanding en masse to change the policy.
Another message then appeared on the official account, which read: “The previous tweets regarding FIFA Women’s World Cup tickets allocation were published without a full understanding of the situation and we apologise for that. The issues were faced by less than 1 per cent of fans requesting tickets for the semi finals and the final.
“FIFA and the Local Organising Committee are confident the problems will be solved and the fans will be able to enjoy the matches as they envisaged.”
Peter Rogers from Glasgow was one of the fans affected. He bought four tickets for a Scotland group game after promising his daughter tickets if their country qualified, but the allocated seats, although in the same row, have a seat between each of his family members.
He told Press Association Sport: “We promised our 13-year-old daughter after the Euros that we would go to the World Cup if Scotland qualified and this is absolutely the highlight of her year – the idea that we might not be sitting together caused a lot of stress.
“For Scotland v Japan in Rennes we have been allocated four seats in the same row, but with a seat between each of us – so 17, 19, 21 and 23.
“I honestly can’t see that there are three people who also really wanted to sit on their own between us.
“We are lucky though – some comments suggest that they are in completely different parts of the stadium from friends and family.”
FIFA had announced at lunchtime on Monday that tickets for the tournament in France, which gets under way on June 7, were now available to print at home.
That was later followed by a message reading: “Dear fans. We have noted some of your comments, re: your tickets.
“When you placed your order, a message indicating not all seats would be located next to each other did appear, before confirmation of your purchase. Unfortunately we will not be able to modify your order.
“However, an exception could be made for parents whose seats are not next to the seats of their underage children (18 years old and younger). For more info, do not hesitate to contact the ticketing customer service team.”
The Football Association said the allocation issue did not apply to England fans who had bought tickets through the supporters’ club.
A spokesman said: “There is no issue with the tickets that we have sold directly to our fans via the Lionesses Supporters Club as we are managing the ticket allocation process and have ensured that all groups are seated together.”
England and Scotland have both qualified for the month-long showpiece and have been paired together in Group D. They play each other at the 35,000-capacity Allianz Riviera on June 9.