Social media users criticized high tickets prices to the 2019 Africa Cup of Nations, particularly the third-class tickets which ranged from LE100 to LE200, with even world-famous Liverpool and Egyptian team superstar Mohamed Salah chiming in to join the criticism.
On twitter, Salah sarcastically wrote “Don’t ever think of sitting in the cabin. If you do, you will pray for the national team for real.”
Fans expected these high prices would lead to a low audience presence during the matches.
The tournament’s organizing committee announced the match ticket prices on Monday, setting third-class tickets at LE100 for games in which the Egyptian team is not playing, with LE300 for the second-class ticket and LE500 for first class.
The prices of tickets for games where the Egyptian team will play were set at LE200 for the third class, LE400 for the second class, and LE600 for the first class, LE500 for the first class upper seats, and LE2,500 for the main cabin.
On twitter, Mahmoud al-Bezawy complained “The price of the third class ticket is LE200, and of course, if you can pay for that, you will need to pay for a sandwich that is worth LE100, for example, and a bottle of water for LE30, for example, which means that if I take my son I will pay LE800 and sit in the third class. And after all, I am required to pray for the national team.”
Meanwhile, writer and researcher Ammar Ali Hassan said that “The Africa Cup of Nations ticket prices in Egypt clearly say that the poor will have no place in the arena seating, although many of them encourage the national team with strength and determination throughout the matches, and are the most demonstrative of the joy if it wins, and sadness if it loses.”
Ahmed Hossam Mido, former manager of the Saudi Cooperation Club, calling for increasing the first-class and cabin ticket prices.
“There is a category in Egypt that can pay up to LE10,000 for a first-class ticket, while third class tickets must not exceed five percent of the minimum wage rate which is a maximum of LE100,” he said.
Mido added: “I call on the Minister of Youth and Sports, Dr. Ashraf Sobhy, to immediately intervene and amend the prices of third-class tickets to suit the capabilities of the low-income class in Egypt. Football is the game of the poor and will remain the game of the poor, and by the poor I mean those who practice it and those who follow it and encourage it !! ”
Ahmed Mortada, a member of Zamalek Club’s board of directors, said the crisis was not confined to ticket prices: “The second-class ticket was for LE60 pounds in the last cup of nations held in Egypt. On the black market, it was worth LE200. What is important about tickets is that they are available and not traded by some on the black market”.
Sports host Ibrahim Fayeq also called for decreasing the prices of tickets.
“Even the price of the third class ticket in matches where Egypt will not play is too expensive. If you want a tournament to succeed and have a public presence, the ticket should not be too expensive to encourage people to go,” he said.
Edited translation from Al-Masry Al-Youm