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2018 Fifa World Cup Asian qualifying

Hundreds of tickets for Hong Kong v China World Cup qualifier invalidated: HKFA

China counterparts told local football officials that holders of tickets with serial numbers between J0291705 and J0292204 would be refused entry to Mong Kok Stadium on November 17

PUBLISHED : Saturday, 14 November, 2015, 1:18am
UPDATED : Saturday, 14 November, 2015, 1:18am

Several hundred tickets sold to mainland soccer fans for next week's World Cup qualifier between Hong Kong and China have been invalidated.

In an announcement last night, the Hong Kong Football Association said their China counterparts informed them that holders of tickets with serial numbers between J0291705 and J0292204 would be refused entry to Mong Kok Stadium on November 17.

The numbers suggest 499 tickets have become void, though neither body has confirmed this figure. A total of 800 tickets had been set aside for away fans in accordance with Fifa rules.

It is almost impossible for them to have a full recovery in such a short period of time before their next match on Tuesday
Sergio Akeda

Fans holding voided tickets now need approval letters from the HKFA to enter the venue.

The Chinese Football Association had previously warned mainland fans that tickets should only be purchased from their sole official agent.

Meanwhile, the Hong Kong team face a battle to recover in time for the match, which coach Kim Pan-gon described as the biggest game in his career.

Returning from a long trip to Maldives this morning after a 1-0 win, the team were told to go home and sleep.

"It is important to have a quick recovery after such a tough match," said the coach. "We can't do much training in the coming days as we need to ensure the players are in top condition before Tuesday's match."

Fitness coach Seigo Akeda said the players were tired after a seven-hour flight back to Hong Kong from Male.

"They were too excited to sleep on the plane," said Akeda. "It is almost impossible for them to have a full recovery in such a short period of time before their next match on Tuesday."