Illegal Cup final tickets worry

23 April 2009 05:07
FA Cup Final tickets are being offered for sale on the internet before they are issued to football clubs, the BBC has learned.The FA said the practice is illegal and that its lawyers would be investigating websites claiming to sell seats for the Chelsea-Everton match on 30 May. [LNB]One website is asking £1,040 for seats in the Chelsea section. [LNB]The website owners say they are not breaking any rules because their business is based in Spain. [LNB]The FA is also planning to launch a major anti-touting campaign later on Thursday. [LNB]Reselling of football tickets is banned in England because of fears of trouble between rival supporters who are normally seated separately from one another. [LNB][LNB] We're concerned our fans are possibly considering buying tickets online - which the websites just don't have Everton spokesman Ian Ross But the websites, who cannot be named for legal reasons, claim to be selling tickets to whoever is willing to pay hugely inflated prices. [LNB]One site is asking for £713 for seats behind the Everton goal. The price goes up to £845 for a view from what it refers to as "longside". [LNB]Chelsea fans are being charged £546 for a seat behind the goal with up to £975 for a seat in what it calls club level. [LNB]Peter Trenter of Chelsea Supporters Group said: "It's a common problem. Unofficial sites selling tickets at extortionate prices." [LNB]But there is surprise that fans are being offered tickets, when seating arrangements and ticket allocation for the two sides have still to be finalised. [LNB]The clubs are due to meet with FA officials on Thursday to discuss seating plans for this year's final. [LNB]"The tickets haven't even been printed yet. It's physically impossible for them to have them," said Everton spokesman Ian Ross. [LNB]One website told the BBC that it wasn't breaking the law because it was based in Spain. [LNB]"It probably is illegal in England but we're in Spain so that's how we get around it," said a spokesman. [LNB]The FA said the fact that the company was based abroad was irrelevant. [LNB]"It doesn't matter if they are in Spain. It is illegal in England. That's all that matters," said an FA spokesman. [LNB]The Premier League has also been trying to clamp down on internet ticket touts. It has in the past written to owners of websites to warn them to stop trading or risk prosecution. [LNB]In the last six weeks it has closed down 30 websites selling Premier League tickets illegally. [LNB]But fans say the only reason they turn to the ticket touts is because the FA is failing to make enough legitimate tickets available. [LNB]Tickets sold[LNB]Even though Wembley has a 90,000 capacity, only 52,000 tickets went directly to fans last year. Portsmouth and Cardiff both received 26,000 tickets each. [LNB]A further 20,000 tickets were passed onto what's called the "football family." They include the regional FAs and referees. Sponsors and charity partners also got a share. [LNB]In total, 17,000 tickets went to Club Wembley - the 10-year season ticket allocation which were sold to help cover the cost of building the ground. [LNB]"The websites are there because of the way the FA allocate tickets," said Kenny Sweeney of the Mid Cheshire Everton Supporters Club. [LNB]"Everton and Man Utd had 64,000 tickets for the semi-final - 24,000 went to other people. That's wrong." [LNB]Because FA Cup Final tickets are likened to gold dust among fans, both Chelsea and Everton are expecting a huge demand when they go on sale. [LNB]Everton has appealed to supporters to only purchase tickets through the club. [LNB]"I think there'll be unprecedented demand from Everton fans. We're concerned our fans are possibly considering buying tickets online - which the websites just don't have," said Mr Ross.

Source: BBC_Sport