Officials at the Hong Kong Rugby Union (HKRU) are assuring fans that tickets for its Sevens tournament are safe to buy, despite an investigation into Viagogo.

The union began using Viagogo as its preferred secondary-market platform for the 2015 Hong Kong Sevens in an effort to dissuade fans from going to the many ticket touts who descend on Hong Kong Stadium during the Sevens weekend.

Although the ballot for the 9,000 public-seating tickets does not close until late February, Viagogo is already starting to sell Hong Kong Sevens tickets on its website.

Viagogo and StubHub had their offices raided as part of an investigation into alleged breaches of consumer law in the secondary ticketing market last week.

Officials from the UK’s Competition and Markets Authority acted after reportedly obtaining information in relation to the activities of ticket touts who snap up tickets for in-demand events and then sell them at inflated prices on the two sites.

The searches are part of the CMA’s enforcement investigation into suspected breaches of consumer protection law in the online secondary tickets market. It was launched last year to highlight whether resale sites were providing fans with enough information about their tickets.

However, the HKRU said it was assured that fans hoping to buy tickets for the Hong Kong Sevens are protected.

“Our highest priority at the Hong Kong Rugby Union is ensuring that those who want to purchase tickets for the Sevens can do so with maximum convenience and confidence, both in our public ticket sale as well as via the secondary ticket market,” said the union’s chief executive, Robbie McRobbie.

“To date, our use of Viagogo has been successful in this effort, particularly with their provided guarantee for consumers that all purchases made through Viagogo are guaranteed to be genuine and subject to full refunds if not.

“We are aware of the recent issues surrounding secondary ticket resellers in the United Kingdom and are in contact presently with our local Viagogo representatives to learn more about this issue.

“We will continue to closely monitor this situation to ensure that the interests of our consumers are safeguarded to the highest degree possible.

“The HKRU encourages consumers to only purchase tickets through authorised channels. With Viagogo’s guarantee of authenticity for all tickets sold via their website and with all financial transactions completed only after the successful conclusion of the purchasers’ on-event experience, we are confident that our consumers are well protected when purchasing via Viagogo.”

Corporate sponsors and members of all the Hong Kong rugby clubs make up the majority of Hong Kong Sevens tickets and have priority. The public must enter a ballot for their tickets with the results to be announced on February 23.

The 2018 Hong Kong Sevens will be held from April 6-8 and the tournament is part of the World Sevens Series.

Image: Jesus Gorriti