Touts are still rife at the 2018 FIFA World Cup despite the governing body claiming a no-tolerance policy on illegal reselling of tickets.
According to the Associated Press news agency, scalpers have been seen outside the main ticket office in Moscow.
They have been witnessed purchasing tickets from foreign fans selling them on at vastly inflated prices.
An AP reporter was apparently approached six times within an hour and offered passes to different games, including a luxury Category 1 seat at the opening game Thursday between Russia and Saudi Arabia.
One was reportedly offered at $700, or $150 above the face-value of the original ticket.
Police at the ticket office on a night earlier this week did little besides briefly inspect one seller’s documents, according to AP.
Touts are exploiting a loophole in FIFA’s system by which fan are able to buy four tickets then change the registered names on three of them. As long as the buyer has at least one ticket of their own and is registered in Russia’s FanID system, a trade is possible.
“You just need ID,” said one seller, who said he was from France and had sold “lots” of tickets in the last month, AP reports. He offered two tickets that had been issued under Russian men’s names while standing next to the ticket office sign that said “tickets are not available for most games.”
FIFA has apparently taken a “strong” stance against touts for the 2018 edition of the tournament, and earlier this month filed a criminal complaint against Viagogo in Geneva, claiming a breach of the law on unfair competition.
A statement from FIFA said: “FIFA has received numerous complaints from individuals, consumer protection bodies and other market players over the opaque and deceptive business conduct of Viagogo AG.”
Image: Marcello Casal