English Premier League football club Manchester City is clamping down on a fan Facebook group that is providing a platform for reselling tickets at face value.
Season ticket holders and those with individual home game tickets were using the City Face Value Tickets and Travel group on the social media site to sell their unwanted Manchester City passes to other supporters for no more than the face value of the original ticket.
The page was shut-down by Facebook, citing infringement of the club’s name and badge, last November after gaining more than 13,000 since being set up five years previously by fan Darren Clarke. The lifelong supporter then re-established the group and attracted 9,000 members.
However, now the club itself is looking to clamp down on the reselling of its tickets.
Clarke was reportedly called for a meeting with City bosses, where they informed him that it broke club rules and that “there would be consequences” if the site wasn’t shut down, though these were not specified, according to the Manchester Evening News.
Despite this, Clarke said he is refusing to close the group as he believes he is doing the fans and club a service and makes no money from the page.
Manchester City is the only official ticketing vendor and has its own ticket exchange for resale.
The club is citing potential security issues for high profile games if tickets are exchanged on social media, as well as stating that customers have no protection when purchasing game passes from unknown vendors over Facebook.
Clarke said: “I just think it’s really heavy-handed. It’s a really popular group. We’ve sold thousands and thousands of tickets over the past few years without any issues.
“Nearly everyone is on Facebook these days and it’s a really easy and quick way for people to sell tickets. On the official exchange they are not seeing the money for months.
“It’s just frustrating. We feel like we’re helping. I don’t make a penny from it, it’s just a way to help fellow Blues. We hear constantly from our red neighbours and others about empty seats and we’re doing our bit to try and make sure spare seats are used but the club don’t like it.”