Hong Kong v China

2018 Fifa World Cup Asian qualifying

Frustration for football fans as Cityline website crashes under demand for Hong Kong v China World Cup qualifying tickets

Punters unable to log on for must-see World Cup clash

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 04 November, 2015, 10:18am
UPDATED : Wednesday, 04 November, 2015, 12:48pm

Fans hoping to buy tickets for the much-anticipated World Cup qualifying match between Hong Kong and China were left frustrated on Wednesday morning as ticket website cityline.com failed to cope with the demand. 

Meanwhile, at Mong Kok Stadium where the match will be played, students and pensioners queued overnight to try to snag the 1,000 concession tickets available there.

Some 3,000 tickets were being made available from 10am yesterday at cityline.com, but their website was down or unreliable from around 9am. 

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"Why bother selling tickets through only one platform, when that platform has a decades-long reputation of being absolutely s***?" said one fan.

The Hong Kong Football Association confirmed on their Facebook page that all tickets had sold out by 12.32pm. Cityline.com still appeared to be unavailable. Fans derided the HKFA and Cityline on the Facebook post.


【香港 對 中國 所有門票已經全部售罄】2018世界盃及2019亞洲盃外圍賽 香港 對 中國 所有門票已於12:32分全部售罄。非常感謝各位球迷一直支持香港隊,有你地既支持鼓勵同落力打氣撐自己人 , 香港隊必定會傾盡200%努力和汗水戰...

Posted by 香港超級聯賽 Hong Kong Premier League on Tuesday, 3 November 2015

READ MORE: Hong Kong football fans betrayed as fear of offending motherland shuts them out of home derby against China

Others expressed their anger on social media. "Cityline fail ... as usual", was one of the printable complaints. 

The 'derby' match on November 17 is the most hotly anticipated football game in the city in living memory, but authorities controversially did not give permission for it to be played at the 40,000-capacity Hong Kong Stadium. 

Mark Sutcliffe, the Hong Kong Football Association chief executive, described that as "very disheartening and a great shame for local football" in a recent blog post.

The official explanation was that the new pitch could not cope with a football match nine days after this weekend's rugby sevens Olympic qualifying tournament. But some feel the decision was an attempt to avoid embarrassing scenes of thousands of Hong Kong fans booing their own national anthem, as they have before other qualifying games. 

Mong Kok Stadium has a capacity of around 6,000 for major games. Subtracting tickets for away fans, tickets pre-sold as part of a package deal, hospitality tickets etc, it left about 4,000 available for local fans.

Hong Kong drew 0-0 with China in Shenzhen in September.

It is not the first time the cityline website has come under fire for not being able to handle predictably large demand, with Hong Kong Sevens fans repeatedly left cursing it.

The Hong Kong Rugby Union eventually abandoned cityline for viagogo.com.