France 2023 World Cup organisers apologise for ticketing problem

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FILE PHOTO: News conference on the 2023 Rugby World Cup hosted by France

PARIS (Reuters) - France 2023 director general Claude Atcher apologised on Tuesday for a bug that left rugby fans frustrated by their experience in attempting to buy tickets for the next World Cup.

"We're well aware that there are a lot of people who were not able to purchase their tickets despite a long wait. We're sorry about that," Atcher said after reports some fans got error messages as they tried to buy ticket packages on Monday.

"There were seven minutes during which there were indeed error messages. Between 1:30 and 1:37 pm precisely. There were also people who waited a very long time, that's the truth," he told reporters.

Atcher, who said the system handled about 350 ticket sales per minute, defended the organisers' ticketing policy.

"We assume the 'first arrived, first served' principle. It has negative effects but that's our philosophy," he said after some 310,000 tickets were sold in less than 12 hours.

Another 310,000 tickets will be up for sale on Thursday.

The World Cup is due to be held from Sept. 8-Oct. 28, 2023.

(Reporting by Julien Pretot; Editing by Ken Ferris)