Ticket touts out-think po­lice and Fifa

Weekend Argus (Saturday Edition) - - FRONT PAGE - WEEK­END AR­GUS RE­PORTERS and SAPA

PO­LICE are clamp­ing down on ticket touts, while ad­mit­ting the scourge of con­tra­band World Cup tick­ets is al­most be­yond their con­trol.

This week touts were openly sell­ing tick­ets for any­thing be­tween R200 and R4 500 at Joburg’s two sta­di­ums, in­clud­ing tick­ets to the quar­ter­fi­nals, as a spe­cial World Cup court con­victed and jailed a Nige­rian for three years af­ter he was found with 30 stolen tick­ets worth R40 000.

Yes­ter­day, of­fi­cers con­fis­cated tick­ets from two sus­pected touts at El­lis Park, but one tout clad in orange over­alls op­er­ated un­heeded among the throngs of Amer­i­can and Slove­nian fans milling around, stop­ping only when he no­ticed a Satur­day Star pho­tog­ra­pher, and melted into the crowd.

“We try to keep the touts away be­cause it is il­le­gal,” said a po­lice­man. “But they move around.”

Fifa’s Le­gal Af­fairs Di­vi­sion and Match Event Ser­vices are now work­ing with of­fi­cers from Bri­tain’s elite Scot­land Yard and SA po­lice to find the source of the il­le­gal tick­ets.

It ap­pears that for­eign com­pa­nies in the US, Bri­tain, Mex­ico, Ger­many, France, the Nether­lands and here at home are sell­ing tick­ets that they are en­ti­tled to, which are then be­ing resold.

The foot­ball body is iden­ti­fy­ing these com­pa­nies, send­ing them letters or­der­ing them to stop and elec­tron­i­cally can­celling black mar­ket tick­ets in a bid to thwart the touts, as well as shut­ting down web­sites ad­ver­tis­ing such tick­ets. But des­per­ate fans don’t care. “It doesn’t mat­ter where the tick­ets come from, we just want to see the matches,” said one fan from Mozam­bique af­ter buy­ing two tick­ets from a Brazil­ian tout.

The tick­ets be­ing sold by touts in­cluded those is­sued by Fifa to foot­ball as­so­ci­a­tions un­der strict con­di­tions, and some were clearly marked “not for re­sale”.

Oth­ers could be fakes.

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