IRFU and GAA to study ruling on online ticket sales
The GAA and the IRFU will examine a Supreme Court victory in London for the RFU that supports efforts to prevent the online resale of international match tickets at inflated prices.
The Supreme Court dismissed an appeal by secondary ticketing website Viagogo against an order forcing it to identify people who had used its website to sell on tickets for autumn internationals in 2010 and Six Nations games in 2011.
“The IRFU is of the same view as other unions and do not condone or wish tickets to be sold anywhere above their face value to the detriment of supporters,” said an IRFU spokesman.
Viagogo also has an Irish domain address and yesterday were offering 12 tickets in the lower east stand for Ireland’s Six Nations match against France next year for almost €10,000.
The price did not include an additional booking fee of €1,147. Also on sale on the website was a six-ticket package for Ireland’s Six Nations match with England in Dublin next year with a price tag of €7,900.
The face value of tickets for the Test match against Argentina on Saturday ranged in price from €10 for restricted view to €75 for a premium level seat, while Viagogo.ieoffered five tickets plus VAT, booking and shipping fee for €723.
The website, however, struck a defiant note, saying it would continue to offer tickets for England matches including this weekend’s game against South Africa at Twickenham.
The IRFU spokesman added: “We are aware of the decision that took place in relation to the RFU and its court case against the sale of match tickets on certain websites. There is a certain amount of intelligence that is often shared among the unions from time to time and certainly we will be discussing this issue with the RFU.
“Ulster rugby is also within the jurisdiction of UK law, which is where the RFU won their case today, but also on the greater issue of tickets being sold above their face value and so contravening the terms and conditions of the tickets, this ruling certainly opens the door to the IRFU examining the legal aspect of this.”
The English Rugby Football Union (RFU) argued that the practice risks pricing out ordinary fans and they intend to reduce allocations to member clubs if they sell tickets online, “name and shame” offenders or ultimately try to recover their profits through court action.
A GAA spokesman said: “This could be a major ruling and we’d have a look at it in more detail. There is a different legislative framework in the UK, although obviously it applies in the North. We are against ticket touting which usually takes place around our major fixtures in the summer.”
What will be of particular interest to the IRFU is the anticipated battle between the RFU and Viagogo in the run-up to the 2015 World Cup which England will host.
But Viagogo said it had taken steps to ensure that sellers of tickets would not face exposure in the future. “Our rugby ticket business is now bigger and our data protection is now better, so fans may therefore now buy and sell rugby tickets on Viagogo with absolute confidence that their information will be protected in future,” said Ed Parkinson, Viagogo’s head of marketing.