Ticket touts pay the penalty for England's success

WHAT PRICE a goal in the Scotland versus England Euro 2000 play- off? The answer, for ticket touts, is a loss of between pounds 150 and pounds 200 per seat.

That is the amount by which black market prices for tonight's second leg at Wembley have fallen since Kevin Keegan's men went up to Hampden Park last Saturday and came away with a virtually unassailable 2-0 lead.

Though the infamous hotlines were deluged by millions of calls when the tickets went on sale, the bottom has now fallen out of the market.

"Have you got any tickets for tomorrow's match?" The Independent asked one unofficial agent, based in London, last night. "How many would you like, sir?" came the reply.

"Two or three," we replied. "Well sir, I have three left, face value pounds 30, in the England section, for pounds 150 each. You can collect them in the morning."

When asked how much the tickets were selling for last week, the agent admitted that they were going for "anything up to pounds 600 or pounds 700 a pair". He added, with a hint of despondency: "But pounds 150 a seat is the market value now. That's the way it goes."

The touts, at least, should still come away ahead. And Scotland?

Violence, page 6

Previews, pages 30-32

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