Acquiring a ticket to watch an Elephants match has become a crossroads for many fans, who accuse the FIF of deliberately flooding the black market.
The area around FIF headquarters is teeming with people on October 16, 2023. On the eve of Côte d'Ivoire-South Africa, fans are snapping up tickets priced at 3 euros, 7.5 euros and 15 euros. Out of fourteen points of sale, this is the only one to be the focus of attention. Tickets are sold out elsewhere. Some customers have bought them in bulk, only to resell them at full price a few hours before the match on October 17, 2023. The same thing happened against Morocco on October 14, 2023. This raised the browls of several fans, who vehemently criticized the fact that FIF, by selling several tickets to a third party, was encouraging this traffic. Of the 22,500 tickets put on sale for each match, more than half end up on the black market.
"Right now, we're being told that there are no more 3 euro and 7.5 euro tickets. There are only 15-euro tickets left. It's revolting. We don't have the money to pay so much. At 3 euros, we can get by. At 7.5 euros, we can make the effort, but beyond that, it becomes difficult.We don't work, but we love our national team and we want to go and see it.It's a pity that the FIF doesn't encourage all that," says G. Stéphane, who we met at a service station in Treichville, 200 m from the Fédération Ivoirienne de Football.
"There are no tickets in the other outlets and when you come to the Federation, the mess is such that you don't want to go to the Stadium. Better still, within the Federation itself, there are officials flooding the black market after buying hundreds and hundreds of tickets priced at 3 euros and 7.5 euros, only to resell them at a higher price. It's a shame that the FIF, which is supposed to be transparent, is complicit with black-market sellers. Because of them, 3 euro tickets are going for 6 or even 9 euros, 7.5 euro tickets for 15 or even 20 euros, 15 euro tickets for 30 euros and more. In short, prices are skyrocketing without anyone knowing what to do about it. They sell at high prices on the black market to make more money while we suffer", says N. Sabrina, an Ivorian of Moroccan origin, who like all Ivorians, is annoyed by the traffic around tickets just a few months before the African Cup of Nations.
."FIF is not involved in the black market".
Accused from all sides, FIF, through its Executive Director Armand Gohourou, organized a press conference on October 15, 2023, the day after Côte d'Ivoire-Morocco (1-1), to deny all accusations and announce the opening of an internal investigation to shed light on the black market around the tickets.
"Since the preparations for the Elephants' friendly matches against Morocco and South Africa, we have set up a ticketing system which is deployed at the main venues with fourteen points of sale. There are four FIF sales outlets, two ticket offices in the town halls of Yopougon, Cocody, Adjamé and Plateau, one in Cap Nord and one in Cap Sud. The instructions are strict to ensure that Ivorians are served. An individual must not buy more than three tickets for the match against South Africa. If he pays for three tickets, one is for himself and two for two members of his family. If he needs to buy more than three, he needs express authorization from the executive management.If he wants to do it for individuals, he needs to bring their identity papers and telephone numbers so that we can contact them before serving them", Gohourou explained to SNA on October 16 at his office in the Maison de verre in Treichville.
He went on to list the measures taken to avoid any inconvenience caused by the purchase of tickets. "We studied everything carefully before going ahead with sales. People are talking nonsense and untruths. Knowing that no human undertaking is perfect, we have to admit that from the outset there were minor hitches, but instructions were given straight away. But the FIF is not involved in the black market or anything else. Under police control, no individual has access to FIF. On the morning of October 16, the eve of Côte d'Ivoire-South Africa, if you come to FIF without valid authorization, you can't get in. As for what's going on outside, there are things we can't necessarily control.I've also asked that there be no intermediaries between the counter staff and the users", assures the DEX.
Since March 24, 2023, there have been a number of complaints, but FIF has always dismissed them out of hand, even threatening to take the rumor-mongers to court. The month of November, the last ticket sales test before the AFCON, should be decisive in restoring the confidence of Elephants fans.