Ticket touts out-think police and Fifa
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.