The 2014 World Cup has featured action so exciting, even the wheelchair-bound have to stand up and cheer. According to the British news agency the Telegraph on June 20, per Deadspin, Brazilian police are launching a ticket fraud investigation after pictures began circulating of fans in wheelchairs standing up to cheer during Brazil’s opening match against Croatia in Sao Paulo last week.
The picture above shows a woman standing up to root on Brazil, a common sight at the World Cup save for the fact her seat is a wheelchair. The picture has been widely distributed on social media and CCTV reportedly captured an additional 22 other images of people suspected of abusing the rules around designated seating for the disabled.
Photos like the one above hardly offer enough proof to say definitively whether or not these fans were taking advantage of a Brazilian law that requires one percent of the stadium’s capacity be dedicated disabled seating, and our optimistic nature leaves us hopeful there’s more to this than a simple case of someone faking a disability in order to take advantage of half-priced seats.
According to the Telegraph, tickets assigned for the disabled have fallen into the hands of scalpers -- or “touts” as they’re apparently called in the King’s English -- and those who purchased black market tickets may be using wheelchairs to enter the stadium. They also report “instances of young adults being seen in seats reserved for pensioners.” The knowledge that World Cup tickets are set aside specifically for retired people in the UK is almost as crazy as the fact that, according to the Telegraph, “selling a ticket for more than face value is a crime [in Brazil] for which the maximum sentence is four years in prison.”