Everton has defended its deal with official resale partner StubHub after its sister firm Ticketbis was found to be selling Premier League tickets at inflated prices months before becoming available via official channels.

According to the Daily Mirror newspaper, Spain-based ticketing company Ticketbis is advertising tickets for games up to nine months in advance and at well above face value. Ticketbis was acquired by StubHub owner eBay in 2016 and is referred to as “a StubHub company”.

Everton has insisted that through its deal with StubHub, the average ticket price through the site “worked out around face value.”

Labour’s Shadow Culture Secretary Tom Watson said: “The actions of some secondary ticketing websites continues to be nothing short of scandalous.

“If some of the mark-ups weren’t obscene enough, it’s been taken to a whole new level where these websites can sell tickets for matches that haven’t even gone on sale.”

Standard single tickets for the Manchester United clash against Liverpool at Old Trafford on March 10, are listed on Ticketbis for up to £1,609 (€1,769/$2,087).

In addition, despite the clubs not yet opening ticket sales for the second half of the season, all Liverpool and Everton home fixtures have been found for hundreds of pounds.

The Mirror newspaper reports that it is not clear if sellers have received tickets early, or whether they assume they will be able to scalp them nearer the time.

Ticketbis insists that it is doing nothing wrong as sales are between fans, rather than direct selling from the company. The firm said that since individual sellers set the prices, they could be both “above and below the original price”.

Despite this, critics have argued that it gives organised ticket touts a method to buy seats en masse and resell them at well above the face value.

Watson recommended that football should begin copying what several music venues have done, such as cancelling tickets they believe have been bought by touts.

He said: “The Premier League and consumer authorities need to come down hard on firms like StubHub and Ticketbis who are taking fans for a ride.”

According to the Mirror, a Premier League spokesman said: “It is illegal to resell football tickets in England and Wales without the authorisation of professional football clubs.

“We work with clubs and the authorities to investigate and, where we can, take action against touts and illegal sellers but it is It is very challenging when sellers are based overseas.

“We advise all fans to check directly with the club, via the official website, before purchasing any tickets.”

Image: Ben Sutherland