An Irish politician is hoping to halt an anti-touting bill in order to protect jobs at the controversial resale firm Viagogo.
Viagogo has an office in Castletroy, Limerick, where 150 staff are currently employed, with plans to grow to around 250, according to Limerick Senator Maria Byrne.
Business Minister Heather Humphreys hopes to pass a piece of legislation that would crackdown on scalpers that profit off reselling GAA matches and concert tickets at vastly inflated prices. However, Byrne said she is more concerned that the bill to prohibit the resale of sporting and entertainment tickets above face value would put jobs at risk in her county.
“I was alarmed to learn that ticket resale sites like the Ticketmaster company Seatwave closed down in Belgium when it introduced similar legislation,” said Byrne, according to the Irish Independent.
Byrne said she would struggle to support the Prohibition of Above-Cost Ticket Touting Bill when it is brought before the Seanad as she hopes to protect those working at Viagogo.
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Viagogo has attracted the ire of the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA), UK Trading Standards and even the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) in the UK, with some critics claiming it misleads consumers and lists fake tickets.
Viagogo was referred to National Trading Standards in May and threatened with prosecution after failing to comply with transparency criteria. The Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) also claims that the firm is continuing to use misleading pricing after its deadline to make changes to its website by May 29 passed.
In addition, football’s global governing body FIFA filed a criminal complaint against Viagogo over its conduct in the run up to the 2018 World Cup in Russia.
Noel Rock, who campaigned for the anti-touting legislation in Ireland, said the legislation was in the national interest.
“The reality is that the majority of the public do not want to see politicians cave into lobbyists’ demands on this one, and would prefer to see match-goers and concert-goers properly protected, rather than propping up the companies that facilitate this gouging of punters,” he said.
“The Cabinet have accepted this, and we hope to be in a position to legislate in the months ahead.”