The RFU has recently claimed a legal victory over on-line resellers offering tickets to its matches at Twickenham at inflated prices. The practice of selling tickets to events at more than their face value is considered ‘touting’ under UK law, so it is important to differentiate between officially-endorsed ‘authorized resellers’ and the spivs who feed off the desperation of individual fans and wealthy corporations eager to attend top sporting events at any price.
In the world of football, resale of tickets is illegal under section 166 Criminal Justice and Public Order Act 1994. This stipulates that it is an offence for any unauthorised person to sell a ticket for a designated football match or otherwise dispose of such a ticket to another person. The Act was amended by section 53 of the Violent Crime Reduction Act 2006. This imposed the following additional restrictions:
• newspapers cannot carry advertising for ticket touts;
• touts are prevented from claiming that a match ticket comes ‘free’ with another product;
• the law applies both to people offering tickets with a wider/hospitality package and people who provide tickets to touts.