ST JOHN’S, Antigua – Antiguans and Barbudans wishing to support the country’s Benna Boys from the stands during the upcoming semi-final round of the FIFA 2012 World Cup Qualifiers will have to dig deep in their pockets.
Antigua & Barbuda Football Association (ABFA) revealed during a press conference on Monday that tickets for the first away game against the USA in the United States on June 8 will range between US $45 and US $4,199, while for the first home game against Jamaica on June 12, fans will pay over EC $30 per child and EC $70 per adult.
According to General Secretary Gordon “Banks” Derrick, these are reduced prices following long negations with FIFA.
“Tickets range from $45 (US) up to $75 (US) and possible $199 (US) for the real high-end, but most persons we have blocked are between the $45 and $75 ticket price range. With regards to the Jamaica game which is some four days later, those tickets are going on sale from the 12th of May,” he said.
“The ticket prices for this game after a lot of cajoling and pounding the elbows of FIFA and the authorities, I was able to get them to agree that the adult tickets will be sold for EC $75 and the children tickets which will be under 10 years old, will be sold for EC $40. Those are the prices for the Jamaica game. They have allowed us a limited amount of tickets to put on a special and that special will be $60 adult tickets. There is no special on any other tickets,” Derrick revealed.
The general secretary added however that there has been favourable response in regards to the purchasing of tickets for the USA game on June 8 and encouraged people to visit the association’s website and secure their tickets early.
“We were able a few weeks ago, through various press releases, to announce the advance ticket sales for the US game which are available through our website www.antiguafootball.com, and I would say that the ticket sales have been going relatively well. We have to, however, understand that through the system that is being used, persons really need to get involved if they want to go to the US and start to buy their tickets quickly. It’s not our kind of system where we wait until the last minute to purchase tickets,” he said.
“Tickets have to be bought well in advance but I must say, for the first part, ticket shave been going very well; people have been constantly calling and it seems as if we are going to have a very strong support from the Diaspora in the USA,” Derrick added.
Meanwhile, the association’s president, Everton “Batow” Gonsalves, said that although government has provided what he has termed “mobilisation fees” to the ABFA, the programme is yet to receive any substantial amount of funds from the government where it pertains to the preparation of the senior national squad.
“I would like to debunk or to clarify what might be making the rounds in Antigua & Barbuda that the ABFA is in possession of the estimated amount that we gave government in terms of our budget, nothing could be furthest from the truth but we are not casting any blame. We understand the predicament that government finds itself in, we are more than quite aware of the predicament that we find ourselves in but we are heartened that government realises the importance of these games and will make a serious dent into the financial requirements we have confronting us,” he said.
“They have been able to provide some small facilities as we may want to term them mobilisation fees to keep things running and to get things organised. The amounts are so small that it wouldn’t be necessary for me to repeat them,” Gonsalves added.
Antigua & Barbuda Benna Boys continue to prepare for the start of the semi-final round as they compete, via Antigua Barracuda FC, in the United Soccer Leagues and the upcoming Club Champions Cup.