Touts facing new crackdown

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The Football Association has announced the most severe penalties it has ever imposed on players, officials and fans, after 1995 FA Cup final tickets were sold for up to 35 times their true value.

Thirty-six names appear on a list published by the FA yesterday - and some have been banned from receiving FA Cup final tickets for up to 20 years.

One pounds 17 ticket was sold for what is believed to be a record sum of pounds 640. A pounds 30 seat fetched pounds 450 - a 1,500 per cent mark up. Last year's FA Cup final was the first at which new laws existed to combat the touts. Fines of up to pounds 5,000 were available. The Home Office has yet to publish prosecution and conviction figures.

The FA said that it believes the new laws have helped but stresses that enforcement is the key. Demand for tickets for this year's FA Cup final is likely to be intense.

"We are sure the police and Government will continue to help us fight this scourge in sport," the FA added. "For the FA's part, by imposing tough penalties, we are seeking to do everything we can. We are still investigating several other cases. We will be running our own undercover operation this year to find the source of the tickets that end up on the black market. Tickets for this year's final will remain at the same prices as the last two years, ranging from pounds 17 to pounds 60.