Warning (but few checks) over black market tickets

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The Independent Online

Euro 2000 organisers have warned fans they risk being refused admission and a fine of nearly £300 if they buy tickets on the black market.

Euro 2000 organisers have warned fans they risk being refused admission and a fine of nearly £300 if they buy tickets on the black market.

"If you are checked and the name on the ticket differs from your identification, you will be denied entry and face a fine of 1,000 guilders [£294]. That penalty is in our regulations," said a spokesman.

Although the fines seem Draconian, it is unlikely many will be handed out. The organisers will not make random checks on ticket-holders and will be stopping only people they feel could cause trouble.

"Selective controls will be carried out by our personnel at the stadium gates," the spokesman said. "They will decide who needs to be checked. We cannot check everyone because that would lead to long queues and that's not something we want to see." Large numbers of fans will be attending matches with tickets that have someone else's name on them, because of the way they were sold. Some 400,000 of the 1.2 million seats were sold "blind" to fans across Europe before the teams for the tournament were known. Many of these tickets, subsequently unwanted, will have found their way on to the black market.

Although the organisers have clamped down on unofficial ticket agencies - they won their first injunction against an unofficial Dutch agent last month - it is understood that they are taking a more lenient line on genuine "ticket exchanges" between fans in different countries.

As The Independent reported last month, a group of English fans have set up an internet site, tickexchange. com, for fans around Europe to swap tickets that were bought "blind".

It is believed the organisers will take no action to close the site, despite it encouraging breaches of the rules.

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