More than 3,500 Chinese football fans have fallen victim to touts selling fake FIFA 2018 World Cup tickets.

Around 10,000 counterfeit tickets have been sold globally for Russia 2018, with more than a third ending up in the hands of supporters from China.

China failed to make the cut for the 2018 edition of the international football spectacle, but still made the top 10 list in official ticket sales.

Of the more than 2.4 million tickets sold officially, China snapped up just over 40,000 of them., a Chinese online news site, highlighted a Russian embassy notice on social media, which said its government was investigating a Russian company for selling more than 3,500 counterfeit tickets to Chinese tourists and travel agents.

According to the New Strait Times newspaper, the embassy notice said the “Anzhi Company” from Russia claimed to have gained written approval to sell tickets from the organising committee.

However, FIFA has continued to reiterated that is the only official and legitimate website via which to buy World Cup tickets.

“Tickets purchased via unauthorised distribution channels, including all tickets purchased through Viagogo AG, will be cancelled once identified. FIFA reserves the right to refuse entry to the stadium to any holder of such tickets,” FIFA said.

FIFA filed a criminal complaint against Viagogo over its conduct in the run up to the 2018 FIFA World Cup.

Football’s governing body said it had received numerous complaints from individuals, consumer protection bodies and other market players about “opaque and deceptive” Viagogo, which has been referred to the UK’s National Trading Standards for non-compliance with transparency regulations.

Image: FIFA