Football supporters unite against 'legalised touting' website
Paul Gallagher is a reporter for the Independent and Independent on Sunday having joined the group in 2012. He has previously worked for the European Voice, Daily Mirror and the Observer and been based in Brussels, Belfast, Tokyo and London.
Sunday 18 August 2013
Supporters of some of the Premier League's biggest clubs are preparing to fight back against the growing influence of a website accused of "legalised touting" amid claims that clubs are encouraging the ripping-off of their fans.
Five clubs – Manchester City, Chelsea, Newcastle United, Aston Villa and Fulham – have signed deals with the Swiss-based company Viagogo, making the ticket resale site the only place that can legally resell match seats, often for hugely inflated prices. Fans are critical of the sums involved in buying tickets through the website, whose policy varies between clubs.
Manchester City fans face charges up to 50 per cent higher, whereas there is no cap for Newcastle or Fulham fans. Chelsea tickets can be sold only for face value, though a pair of their most expensive £75 seats cost £180 with Viagogo due to "fees, handling and VAT".
Some City fans, who last season staged protests at the inflated price of tickets for games against top rivals, have started a petition calling for Viagogo to be "kicked out of Manchester City". A similar move by the German Bundesliga team Schalke 04 led to widespread demonstrations by thousands of fans, which resulted in the club ending the deal earlier this year.
Malcolm Clarke, chair of the Football Supporters' Federation, recently branded secondary ticket agencies "legalised touts". He added: "We see no reason, if clubs have tickets available, why they cannot sell them in the normal way at face value." Fans at other affected clubs have also voiced concerns.
Steve Roest of Viagogo said: "Anyone wanting to buy or sell tickets for home games at these clubs can do so on Viagogo. We have worked closely with each club to determine what price cap should be set for ticket resale."
Latest in Sport
Chelsea 1 Crystal Palace 2: Motivation of Blues in doubt after second loss
Kevin De Bruyne joins Manchester City: Belgium international completes £55m switch
Swansea City vs Manchester United match report: Disjointed United left exposed as Wayne Rooney's malaise spreads
Chelsea 1 Crystal Palace 2 player ratings: Who was to blame for Chelsea's defeat? Did Pedro impress on his home debut? Sako and Ward star
Swansea 2 Manchester United 1 player ratings: Was Andre Ayew the Swans' star man or did Bafetimbi Gomis steal the show?
- 1 A daily walk 'can add seven years to your life'
- 2 Rules on 5p plastic bags likely to lead to arguments at the check-out
- 3 Chrissie Hynde says women who 'wear high heels and dress provocatively entice rapists'
- 4 Blood Moon and Supermoon: September to bring brightest – and dimmest – full Moon of the year on same night
- 5 News agency criticised for describing Amal Clooney as 'actor's wife' in coverage of human rights trial
Climate change: 2015 will be the hottest year on record 'by a mile', experts say
'Women only' train carriages: Jeremy Corbyn unveils radical move to tackle public harassment
Black holes are a passage to another universe, says Stephen Hawking
Tony Blair attacks Jeremy Corbyn's 'Alice In Wonderland' politics
Theresa May says migrants should be banned from entering the UK unless they have jobs lined up
Iain Duncan Smith 'should resign over disability benefit death figures', says Jeremy Corbyn