The new Criminal Justice and Public Order Bill was due to outlaw touting on match days only, but the Home Office confirmed yesterday that it had been agreed to make all football ticket touting a criminal offence, with a maximum pounds 5,000 fine.
Liverpool's trading standards officers, who have waged a six-year campaign against FA Cup Final ticket touts, said that it would help to halt a racket which saw fans paying up to pounds 350,000 a year in mark- ups on Wembley tickets.
The original Bill, introduced to deal with disorderly behaviour at matches, was implementing a recommendation of Lord Justice Taylor's report following the 1989 Hillsborough disaster. It would have made it illegal to sell tickets for a game without the authority of the home club or match organisers in a public place on match days.
But Peter Mawdsley, Liverpool's trading standards chief, wrote to Michael Howard, the Home Secretary, pointing out the inadequacies of the legislation and pressing for the amendment to include all touting. Legal touting in the weeks before a big game would still have left supporters in danger from the failure of crowd segregation arrangements, he argued.