Ny, a Vietnamese living in Phnom Penh, Cambodia, said her family has not been able to get tickets to SEA Games football matches despite queuing up on several days.
The 32nd SEA Games will take place from May 5 to 17 in Cambodia – though several kick off a week early — with most events being held in the capital Phnom Penh.
Football and some other sports begin on April 29, Saturday.
People queue up for tickets outside the Olympic Stadium in Phnom Penh on April 24, 2023. Photo by Cambodia 2023 Facebook
The Cambodia SEA Games Organizing Committee has announced that all events will be free including 20,000 tickets for the first two matches in men’s football.
But the tickets ran out almost instantly.
Many spectators have complained about the messy queuing system and tardy ticket distribution.
“Cambodian and Vietnamese people here are seeking tickets to football matches,” Ny, 36, told VnExpress.
To get tickets, people are required to register on a mobile application or at several ticketing points around the city and receive a QR code, which can be exchanged for two tickets.
Ny and her family members took their QR codes to a ticket point in their neighborhood, but were shocked by the number of people queuing there for hours under the sun.
Ny said: “Many students are here because schools are closed. My two children went to the ticketing point twice, but gave up because they could not wait for so long.”
The Cambodian government has announced all educational institutions will be closed from April 20 to May 18 for students to watch the games.
The Ministry of Education, Youth and Sport has encouraged teachers and students to act as volunteers as well as go to stadiums to support the national team.
Ny’s husband and other relatives have also tried several times in vain.
Le Manh Hung, 46, owner of Hoa Sen Restaurant in Phnom Penh, said Vietnamese are arriving in the capital in the hope of getting tickets through their compatriots living there.
He relocated to Cambodia in 2013, and has helped Vietnamese coming to the country to watch sports on many occasions, he said.
“We had to ask for help from the Vietnamese embassy in Cambodia, the Cambodian Ministry of Culture, Tourism and Sports and the Cambodian Guard Police Department to get tickets for Vietnamese spectators coming to support their national team.”
Based on his experience, Hung expected the games to attract many spectators from Vietnam, Laos and Thailand.
Morodok Techo Stadium is the venue for most of the events at the 32nf SEA Games. Photo by Reuters
The Cambodian government plans to spend over US$100 million on the games.
It is the first time the country is hosting the SEA Games after turning down the offer many times in the past pleading limited infrastructure.
“Cambodians and Vietnamese here are excitedly looking forward to the games,” Ny said.
“Our family will certainly go to watch the Vietnamese national teams competing in the games.”
Hoang, owner of Arita Garden Restaurant in Phnom Penh, said: “I, my Vietnamese employees and friends are all football fans. We have arranged our schedules to attend the Vietnamese men’s and women’s football matches.”
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