Fans warned as World Cup seats ad­ver­tised at 40 times face value


TICKETS FOR the foot­ball World Cup have been il­lic­itly ad­ver­tised for al­most 40 times face value on sec­ondary seller web­sites, ac­cord­ing to a lead­ing con­sumer rights group.

Fans head­ing to Rus­sia risk be­ing de­nied en­try to matches if they show up with passes bought through a third party, Fifa has warned, say­ing that it re­tains ex­clu­sive sell­ing rights.

Tickets were on sale in March for as much as £5,618 each across five sep­a­rate sites in­clud­ing StubHub and Ti­combo, ac­cord­ing to Which?.

A pair of premium cat­e­gory one tickets for the Eng­land v Tu­nisia match on June 18 were found listed for be­tween £480 and £11,237 de­spite be­ing ad­ver­tised for £296 on Fifa’s web­site, Which? said.

Alex Neill, man­ag­ing di­rec­tor of home prod­ucts and ser­vices, said fans are at risk of be­ing ripped off.

He said: “Foot­ball fans need to be aware that if they buy a World Cup ticket from an un­of­fi­cial source, they risk pay­ing in­flated prices and po­ten­tially not get­ting into the game at all.

“If you don’t want to risk watch­ing the World Cup from the side­lines, you should only buy from the of­fi­cial Fifa re­selling web­site.”

Fifa says it re­gards the “il­licit sale and dis­tri­bu­tion of tickets as a very se­ri­ous is­sue”.

But Ti­combo said it was not vi­o­lat­ing any leg­is­la­tion by trad­ing tickets.

A spokesman said: “If Fifa has a prob­lem with fans wish­ing to sell their ticket to a third party, it has a prob­lem not with Ti­combo, but with the free mar­ket it­self.

“Thus we do not ac­knowl­edge the le­git­i­macy of the ac­cu­sa­tions put for­ward.”

Fans who bought tickets from sites with con­sumer pro­tec­tion guar­an­tees should go back to the com­pa­nies, Which? added.

Fifa added there would be strict ad­mis­sion checks dur­ing the 2018 World Cup Rus­sia and that a Fan ID doc­u­ment is needed for en­try.

A spokesman said: “A num­ber of unau­tho­rised on­line ticket sales, of­fered via web­sites and on so­cial me­dia orig­i­nat­ing from var­i­ous coun­tries, have been stopped dur­ing the past months.

“Fur­ther­more, we have taken con­crete le­gal ac­tion against a num­ber of plat­forms... while en­cour­ag­ing fans not to pur­chase tickets from unau­tho­rised sources.”

StubHub said: “StubHub fully com­plies with ap­pli­ca­ble laws – there­fore, we do not al­low the re­sale of World Cup tickets on

“Un­for­tu­nately, World Cup tickets were, due to a tech­ni­cal er­ror, view­able from (but not pur­chasable on) our UK site for a lim­ited pe­riod but this was promptly fixed. There are cur­rently no tickets avail­able for the World Cup on our UK site.”

MP Ju­lian Knight, Soli­hull MP and a mem­ber of the Dig­i­tal, Cul­ture, Me­dia and Sport Com­mit­tee, said: “Ticket tout­ing, such as what’s been hap­pen­ing with these World Cup tickets, is a huge prob­lem, mak­ing matches and events more in­ac­ces­si­ble to fans.

“Some­one needs to an­swer on who is get­ting their hands on these tickets to sell on in the first place and how. That’s why be­gin­ning in the sum­mer the Dig­i­tal, Cul­ture, Me­dia and Sport Com­mit­tee will con­tinue our in­ves­ti­ga­tion into sec­ondary ticket sell­ing as part of our in­quiry into live mu­sic and events.”

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