April 3, 2018 / 2:28 PM / 22 days ago

Latin American fans buying World Cup tickets faster than Europeans

ZURICH (Reuters) - Latin American fans are buying tickets for the World Cup in Russia faster than Europeans, according to figures published by global soccer body FIFA on Tuesday.

A soccer ball with the sign of the FIFA World Cup 2018 is seen before the Adidas annual news conference in Herzogenaurach, Germany March 14, 2018. REUTERS/Michael Dalder

FIFA said that 394,433 tickets were sold in the most recent sales period and 216,134 of those were allocated to fans from the host nation.

Fans from the United States were the biggest buyers among foreign supporters with 16,642 tickets, even though their team has not qualified. However, as the numbers are based on country of residence, a proportion of the U.S. sales could come from the nation’s large Hispanic community.

The next five biggest purchasers were Argentina (15,006), Colombia (14,755), Mexico (14,372), Brazil (9,962) and Peru (9,766).

Germany, whose team are the defending champions, was the top European nation with 5,974 tickets allocated while China (6,598), Australia (5,905) and India (4,509) completed the top ten.

China and India have also failed to qualify.

FIFA said a total of 1,698,049 tickets have been sold overall since sales began in September, again dominated by fans from Latin America.

U.S. residents were the top purchasers with 80,161 tickets, followed by Brazil (65,863), Colombia (60,199), Germany (55,136), Mexico (51,736), Argentina (44,882), Peru (38,544), China (36,841), Australia (34,628) and England (30,711).

Russian fans have acquired 796,875 tickets.

The final batch of tickets will go on sale from April 18, the organisation said.

A number of European countries and the United States are in a major standoff with Russia, with expulsions of diplomats on both sides, over the poisoning of a former Russian spy in England last month. Britain has blamed the attack on Russia which has denied responsibility.

Reporting by Brian Homewood; Editing by Christian Radnedge and Toby Davis

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