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FIFA makes criminal complaint against ticket reseller Viagogo

FIFA makes criminal complaint against ticket reseller Viagogo
June 5, 2018

World football governing body FIFA has filed a criminal complaint against Viagogo over the resale site’s unauthorised sales of tickets for the 2018 FIFA World Cup, which starts in Russia next week.

As part of a crackdown on unauthorised ticket sales for its flagship tournament, FIFA said it has received numerous complaints from individuals, consumer protection bodies and other market players about “opaque and deceptive” advertising of World Cup tickets by Viagogo.

Having last week been referred to the UK’s National Trading Standards for non-compliance with transparency regulations and also under investigation in other nations, FIFA’s move is significant as both it and Viagogo are based in Switzerland and are both subject to Swiss law.

FIFA filed a criminal complaint on Monday based on a breach of the law on unfair competition against Viagogo with the public prosecutor’s office in the Swiss city Geneva.

In the run-up to the tournament, FIFA said it had “received numerous complaints from individuals, consumer protection bodies and other market players over the opaque and deceptive business conduct of Viagogo AG”.

The governing body said it decided to take action “after aligning with other stakeholders that have already filed criminal complaints … due to the company’s unfair business practices”.

It added “tickets purchased via unauthorised distribution channels, including all tickets purchased through Viagogo AG, will be cancelled once identified. FIFA reserves the right to refuse entry to the stadium to any holder of such tickets.

“FIFA regards the illicit sale and distribution of tickets as a serious issue and views the security implications of the unauthorised transfer and/or resale of tickets as being of paramount importance.

“In light of the above, we encourage fans not to purchase tickets from unauthorised platforms/sellers.”

Emphasising that strict admission checks would be carried out at games, FIFA highlighted that its website was the only official and legitimate seller of World Cup tickets, and any bought through Viagogo would be cancelled once identified.

However, as of today, Viagogo’s Swiss website was selling tickets for more than 50 of the matches

Recently, FIFA has held talks with UEFA, the governing body for football in Europe, in order to coordinate action against unauthorised platforms and establish cooperation with the Fédération romande des consommateurs (FRC), the consumer protection association for French-speaking Switzerland, which is a strong advocate against ticket sales conducted through unauthorised sources.

Prior to its Euro 2016 tournament, UEFA also filed a criminal complaint against Viagogo over illegal ticket sales, prompting a raid by French police on a hotel where the company’s agents were handing out tickets.

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However, as an independent publisher, can we ask for you to support us by subscribing to the printed Australasian Leisure Management magazine - if you don't already do so.

Published bi-monthly since 1997, the printed Australasian Leisure Management differs from this website in that it publishes longer, in-depth and analytical features covering aquatics, attractions, entertainment, events, fitness, parks, recreation, sport, tourism and venues management.

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