AFCON 2023 tickets: CAF break silence on empty stadiums

The Confederation of African Football (CAF) reacted to the controversy surrounding AFCON 2023 tickets.

The controversy arose after it emerged that, despite announcing that the majority of tickets for some matches had been sold out, the stadiums were not full.

Although CAF’s records indicate that a lot of tickets have been sold, matches on the first day of the group stage struggled to fill the stadiums in Abidjan, Bouake, Korhogo, San-Pedro and Yamoussoukro.

This left many fans wondering where the remaining tickets had gone, leading to allegations of ticket hoarding by unscrupulous persons.

Scarcity of AFCON 2023 tickets

AFCON 2023 tickets have been center of attention as fans find them difficult to access
– by Icon Sport

During the opening game between the Ivory Coast and Guinea-Bissau at the Alassane Ouattara Stadium, only half (38,000 spectators compared to a capacity of 60,000) of the stadium was filled.

The attendance rate for the other match in the group stage between Nigeria and Equatorial Guinea was at 15% (8,500 supporters). To this end, fans have criticised the scarcity of tickets, particularly against a backdrop of speculations of black market activities.

CAF takes responsibility for overprinting issues

A statement from CAF, however, attributed the cause of the hiccup to “printing issues” due to last-minute high demands and said the football governing body has taken responsibility.

CAF also stated that the ticketing system has since been adapted to deal with the high demand for tickets, while the sale of tickets for games is also ongoing on its online platform and other physical selling points in the Ivory Coast.

“CAF confirms that ticketing for TotalEnergies AFCON Côte d'Ivoire 2023 (“AFCON”) remains under its responsibility,” the statement said.

“Although there were some printing issues on the first day of the AFCON due to last-minute group purchases of physical tickets, the ticketing system has since been adapted to deal with such requests.”

It added: “The system is currently functioning well. Over 60% tickets have been sold in CAF’s online platform internationally. Additionally, there are ticket-selling points at each host city.

“The close collaboration between COCAN and CAF continues to respond in real-time to the challenges that inevitably arise when organising an event of this magnitude anywhere in the world.”

Meanwhile, the Organising Committee of the 2023 AFCON has also assured that supporters will have a seamless purchase of tickets for matches henceforth after the initial challenges were fixed.  

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Emmanuel Ayamga

Emmanuel Ayamga is an African sports writer, with bylines on DW, Al Jazeera, World Soccer Magazine and These Football Times.