With more than 2.5 million tickets sold through authorised FIFA channels, the South African authorities have finalised regulations to combat ticket touts. However, unauthorised operators or sellers continue to exploit the popularity of the FIFA World Cup to lure unsuspecting fans across the world into purchasing illegitimate or unauthorised tickets and/or ticket-inclusive travel packages. The implementation of a new regulation approved by the Minister of Trade and Industry makes it unlawful for any entity or person to sell or otherwise dispose of FIFA World Cup tickets for commercial purposes as such is an unfair business practice.
“We are concerned that consumers may be prejudiced by believing that they can purchase tickets through avenues which are not authorised by FIFA. Consumers could loose the money that they have paid for tickets or be left in a situation of not receiving the tickets that they have paid for. The position is obviously aggravated wherein consumers, in addition to outlaying money for tickets, have used funds to purchase accommodation and flights”, explains Dr Rob Davies, Minister of Trade and Industry.
To prevent forgery, each ticket features various special security elements such as a barcode. With the electronic turnstiles, invalid or forged tickets will be easily detected. With the new regulations in place the selling and use of counterfeit tickets is inherently fraudulent and as such criminal prosecutions could follow in such instances. It is important to note that any ticket can be traced back to the original buyer who can be made liable according to the terms and conditions.
A special team from FIFA's Legal Affairs Division and from MATCH Event Services are working closely with international and local authorities to take action to combat illegal offers aimed at protecting consumers from misrepresentation and preventing football fans from being cheated.
“This new regulation will greatly assist the enforcement authorities in their efforts to stop unlawful ticketing. In addition, the South African Police Services are conducting criminal investigations into ticketing activities by unauthorised parties which will tighten the control of the sale of tickets even further. This will enhance the event security and reduce the chances of football fans being let down or being turned away at the match venues, “ explains Clifford Green, attorney acting for FIFA.
FIFA and MATCH have issued numerous warnings to the public urging them not to purchase tickets or hospitality packages from unofficial sources. For further information on the official sales points please visit FIFA.com.
The South African Police Service is independently investigating the activities of unlawful ticket dealers in the hope that charges will be brought against the culprits in due course.
However, for fans who are not able to attend matches due to unforeseen circumstances, an official re-sell platform has been set-up through the official website, FIFA.com, or the call centre 0831232010.