A lack of legislation in the UK to tackle unofficial ticketing resale providers has “restricted” efforts by the organisers of the ongoing Men’s Cricket World Cup to take “preventative action,” tournament managing director Steve Elworthy has claimed.

Elworthy was speaking ahead of today’s semi-final of the International Cricket Council tournament between England and Australia at 23,500-capacity Edgbaston in Birmingham, UK, with thousands of empty seats clearly visible across the stadium.

Earlier this week, the event’s organisers expressed concerns that touts could be active for this week’s semi-finals after India fans reportedly bought more than half of the available tickets for today’s game well in advance, before it emerged through the competition’s results that their team would actually feature in the other semi-final.

“In order to maximise attendance and support the long-term growth of cricket, we have worked hard to ensure that genuine fans from around the world can attend CWC19, with an affordable and fair ticket pricing policy being a top priority for this tournament,” Elworthy said.

“It is therefore very disappointing to see tickets on secondary ticketing websites selling at vastly inflated prices.

“We are doing our utmost to limit the secondary ticket market, however, a lack of legislation in the UK means we are restricted in the preventative action we can take to stop fans being ripped off and forced to pay over the odds.

“We have been and will continue to cancel the accounts and tickets we see being sold on secondary sites.”

The tournament’s official resale website (pictured below) still had plenty of tickets for today’s match across various pricing categories at 2pm BST, by which point the contest had reached its halfway stage.

Elworthy added: “The only way fans can guarantee their ticket will be valid is to buy it from the official ticket resale platform, which allows fans unable to attend the remaining matches to sell to other genuine fans at face value. Anyone purchasing tickets from an unauthorised source, either online or in person, faces the risk of being left out of pocket and unable to enter the venue.”

The event has been staged across nine stadiums in England and one in Wales.