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Shock exits open up ticket goal

Santi Ranjan Paul had been happy with the two tickets he bought online for the World Cup third-place play-off on July 14 until a new goal unexpectedly presented itself once the league stage ended.

Chandreyee Ghose And Ayan Paul   |   Calcutta   |   Published 04.07.18, 12:00 AM

Calcutta: Santi Ranjan Paul had been happy with the two tickets he bought online for the World Cup third-place play-off on July 14 until a new goal unexpectedly presented itself once the league stage ended.

"Ticket prices have reduced considerably since last week. My budget had allowed me to buy tickets for only the third-place match. A ticket to any of the semi-finals was too costly (around $1,500 or Rs 1.2 lakh) for me. Today, I snapped up two semi-final tickets for $625 (Rs 42,843)!" said the 55-year-old Salt Lake businessman, who will be leaving for Russia with his son on Sunday.

The Neymar fan got tickets for the Moscow semi-final after Brazil's victory on Monday night. The two Category 1 tickets for the third-place match had cost him around $500.

The Pauls aren't the only ones from Calcutta eyeing last-minute World Cup deals emerging from the early exit of the four biggies - Argentina, Germany, Spain and Portugal.

According to the start-up Greynomad that specialises in sports tourism, there has been a spurt in fresh enquiries since Sunday for the World Cup semi-finals and final.

"Fans around the world have returned their tickets to FIFA after the exit of Argentina, Germany and other favourites. FIFA is now reselling them through its official agents. We have managed to procure quite a few for our fans here," said Raunak Jana, the CEO of Greynomad, the state partner of Cutting Edge that is the official match hospitality agent for the FIFA World Cup 2018.

"We have received more than 120 new enquiries and 22 people have already booked tickets for the semi-finals and final," Jana said.

Category 2 tickets for the final in Moscow had been priced at $3,000, which has now dropped to $1,320. Category 3 tickets had been sold at $2,200, but are currently available at $900, according to Jana.

Category 4 tickets are reserved for Russian fans.

Retired businessman Sanjiv Kar is also set to fly to Moscow on July 9 with five of his friends. "I was sad when Argentina lost. But watching the World Cup is an experience I cannot give up on just because my favourite team has lost. We have already got our tickets for a semi-final and the final. We will be doing a lot of shuttling between Moscow and St Petersburg. We hope two more friends will be able to buy match tickets and join us," he said.

Debraj Choudhury of Salt Lake has booked a ticket for the second semi-final on July 11 and is looking for one for the first semi-final as well. "I will be reaching St Petersburg on the morning of July 10. Since tickets have become available, might as well try my luck."

Jana, whose company is just over a year old, has sent more than 225 clients to Moscow to catch the World Cup live. "Some fans are ready to even mortgage their land for a ticket," he said. "A few companies are also trying to book trips at the last moment."

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