THERE may be some virtue in the claim that, as their taxpayers are paying to stage the World Cup, the French deserve most of the tickets.

But it does not excuse the fiasco yesterday over the sale of the last batch.

For non-French fans ringing the ticket sales line ended up with just a one in two million chance of getting through. The set-up was a farce.

And another nonsense was that most of the tickets on offer were sold to French fans, for whom there was a separate sales line - and this after the EU had threatened action over two thirds of tickets being sold in France already.

Fair? Well, it's the sort of thing we expect from a country renowned for its chauvinism and self-interest.

But foolish?

Certainly, France has lost the opportunity to sell itself to tens of thousands of foreign visitors and, worse, it has upped the risk of trouble from frustrated fans travelling to the match venues in the the hope of getting tickets on the black market.

Let it try to dismiss that mistake with a Gallic shrug of the shoulders.

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