Viagogo has been banned from offering World Cup tickets in Germany for the next three months following a complaint from FIFA.
A Hamburg court ruled that the secondary platform cannot list tickets until FIFA officially allocates tickets in April or until it physically possesses them. Any violation of the injunction by the company would be punishable by a fine of up to €250,000 ($306,530/£220,390) or imprisonment for up to six months.
The Hamburg District Court held that Viagogo was misleading potential ticket buyers to believe that it had valid and deliverable tickets for the World Cup in Russia. The court deemed this behaviour to be misleading and in violation of the German Unfair Competition Act (UWG).
It also found that offering tickets that were not yet available constituted a “deliberate obstruction” to FIFA with regard to its ticket sales.
FIFA, the exclusive vendor of tickets for the event in Russia, reminded fans that it is entitled to void any ticket purchased via unauthorised distribution channels, including all tickets purchased through Viagogo.
In a statement FIFA said: “FIFA greatly welcomes the decision of the Hamburg District Court with this preliminary injunction, which will protect fans against Viagogo AG’s misleading campaign and help prevent them from buying overpriced tickets on the secondary market.
“At the same time, it will help safeguard FIFA’s fair-price ticket and distribution system for the 2018 FIFA World Cup.”
Last week, FIFA announced that more than three million World Cup ticket requests had been submitted in little more than a month since the launch of the current sales phase.
The 2018 World Cup will be held between June 14 and July 15 at 12 stadiums.
FIFA said: “With 150 days left until the start of the biggest single-sport event in the world, the demand for 2018 FIFA World Cup Russia tickets keeps increasing – both from domestic and international football fans.”
MAIN IMAGE: Fifa