There might have been 21,000 fans watching Cristian Ronaldo and Portugal thrash Luxembourg 5-0 but hundreds, if not thousands, gave up in disgust after having queued for tickets for over two hours.
With only four windows for ticket sales and one window for people to collect tickets ordered online, the queue at times stretched well over 500 metres.
To add to the frustration, the police made those waiting to collect tickets join the main queue. One disgruntled fan said: “We started queuing at 7.55pm and finally got into the stadium at 9.20pm, twenty minutes after kick-off.”
A family from Tavira said: “After queuing for two hours we gave up and went home. My young son was extremely upset.”
Another unhappy fan said: “Two weeks ago I saw on the Portuguese FA website that tickets were available at the Algarve Football Association offices in Faro but when I went there no-one knew anything about them. Now I’ve had to queue with my two young sons for well over an hour. We’ll not be coming again.”
It is estimated that the Portuguese FA could have lost in excess of €50,000euros.
Why cannot outlets such as SC Olhanense, Casas de Benfica and sports shops be used? The Portuguese FA issued the following statement:
“The FPF obviously regrets that not all the fans who wanted to see the match could do it. In the afternoon of the match, there were six (not four) windows to sell tickets plus a ticket collection point. Note that in the biggest attendance Portuguese league matches, there are a maximum of four windows selling tickets.
“On the other hand, tickets were available on the Portuguese FA website from July 13, and were sold by the Algarve Football Association from August 1, and this information was announced several times in different platforms.
“Unfortunately, the majority of the fans wanting to see the match in Estádio do Algarve left the buying of the tickets very late; around 15.000 tickets were sold on the day of the match which made the big queues inevitable.”