Rugby Warning for fans as World Cup tickets go on sale

Tuesday, 16 September 2014 00:01 -     - {{hitsCtrl.values.hits}}

Reuters: With tickets for next year’s rugby World Cup in England on general sale, fans have been warned to buy them through official channels or risk being refused entry to matches. Up to a million tickets went on sale at 0900 GMT on Friday - 300,000 have already been sold via rugby clubs - and fans have until Sept. 29 to apply. However, with demand for tickets in Britain expected to be second only to the London 2012 Olympics, there is a growing fear that organised touts could hijack the process. Unlike the ticketing system for the London Olympics, in which the government introduced legislation banning the unauthorised resale of tickets, the International Rugby Board (IRB) did not apply for the same conditions. England Rugby 2015 subsequently failed to persuade the government to make touting of World Cup tickets illegal and are hoping that their terms and conditions that forbid anyone buying a ticket from an unauthorised outlet will dampen the market. In a bid to deter touts, ticket agency Ticketmaster has implemented software that can detect multiple applications but officials accept that they face a difficult battle against increasingly sophisticated operators. “Fans should only buy through official sources,” said England Rugby 2015 communications director Joanna Manning-Cooper, who saw the benefit of legal protection during her time with the London 2012 Olympics organising committee. “We are doing everything we can to make sure tickets get into the hands of fans who want to come to the tournament, and not to touts who simply want to sell them on at a profit.” The tournament has to raise 250 million pounds ($406.33 million) from tickets and organisers have implemented a wide range of prices. Prices range from 15 pounds for the lesser group games - with children’s tickets from seven pounds - to 715 pounds for the most expensive seats at the final at Twickenham on Oct. 31. The 20 participating countries will play across England and Wales with Wembley, the Millennium Stadium, Elland Road, Villa Park and London’s Olympic Stadium among the venues being used. The tournament begins on Sept. 18 next year when England play Fiji at Twickenham. England’s pool games against Australia and Wales are likely to be oversubscribed many times over, despite a top price of 315 pounds, and will be decided by a ballot. However, with tickets for matches such as Samoa v United States starting at 15 pounds, organisers claim there is ample opportunity for fans to see some live action. “We have worked hard to develop a ticketing system which makes the application process easy and efficient as possible, and offers flexibility to fans,” Rugby World Cup 2015 chief executive Debbie Jevans, said in a statement. “Fans have 17 days to apply, so there is no rush and they should take time to consider what they would like to purchase.” Champions New Zealand, who beat France 8-7 in the final in Auckland in 2011, begin their defence against Argentina at Wembley on Sept. 20.