Consumer group Which? has cautioned fans looking to travel to the 2018 FIFA World Cup in Russia that inflated tickets on the secondary market may not be valid.
Which? research found five secondary ticketing websites listing World Cup 2018 tickets for sale in the UK, despite FIFA stating on its website that tickets for all World Cup matches should be sold to fans directly and exclusively via FIFA.com. The website also states that no other websites or parties have any rights to legitimately sell tickets for the event.
Despite this, Which? found tickets for the England vs Tunisia match priced as high as £11,237, a 3792 per cent increase on the face value of the tickets which were available for $420 (£296.35) from the FIFA website.
Football’s governing body said it can invalidate any ticket purchased on an unauthorised ticketing website.
In March Which? found five ticketing websites including Stubhub and Ticombo that were selling World Cup tickets.
Stubhub said tickets had appeared on its UK website due to a “technical error” and there were no World Cup tickets currently available.
“StubHub fully complies with applicable laws. Therefore, we do not allow the resale of World Cup tickets on Stubhub.co.uk,” a spokesperson said.
Conversely, Ticombo said: “If FIFA has a problem with fans wishing to sell their ticket to a third party, it has a problem not with Ticombo, but with the free market itself.”
To access any of the Russian stadiums, fans will also need Fan ID, a document that all the spectators of 2018 FIFA World Cup matches must have to get access to stadiums.
Alex Neill, Which? managing director of home products and services, said: “Football fans need to be aware that if they buy a World Cup ticket from an unofficial source, they risk paying inflated prices and potentially not getting into the game at all.
“If you don’t want to risk watching the World Cup from the sidelines, you should only buy from the official FIFA reselling website.”
Eleven host cities will be the venues for the matches of the 2018 World Cup. They are Moscow, St. Petersburg, Sochi, Kazan, Saransk, Kaliningrad, Volgograd, Rostov-on-Don, Nizhny Novgorod, Yekaterinburg and Samara.
The 2018 World Cup will be held between June 14 and July 15 at 12 stadiums.
Image: Tsotumo Takasu