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FIFA Investigates Reason for Empty Seats at World Cup Game

FIFA, soccer’s governing body, and South African organizers of the World Cup are investigating transportation plans in Port Elizabeth after thousands of seats were empty at a June 12 soccer game between South Korea and Greece.

“There is an investigation into transport arrangements at the game in Port Elizabeth,” Rich Mkhondo, chief communications officer of the World Cup Organizing Committee, said in an interview from his mobile phone today. FIFA aims to find out “why people who bought tickets didn’t come.”

At least 8,000 of the more than 39,000 seats for which FIFA said it sold tickets were empty, Johannesburg-based Business Day newspaper reported today. Companies bought some of the tickets, Mkhondo said. The Nelson Mandela Bay stadium has a capacity to seat about 45,000, according to FIFA.

The World Cup, which began on June 11, is the first to be held in Africa. The government has spent about 43 billion rand ($5.6 billion) on stadiums, transportation and other infrastructure in preparation for the tournament.

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