English Premier League football club Chelsea has launched an undercover operation to tackle ticket touts, with the crackdown already seeing one man sent to jail for six months.

The operation, which has also seen the London club take legal action against 10 other individuals, will continue throughout the 2019-20 season as Chelsea attempts to curb ticket touting in the area surrounding its Stamford Bridge stadium.

The man who has been sent to jail was sentenced to six months for breaching an order imposed by the High Court. All 11 have been ordered to pay the club’s costs incurred in putting a stop to their touting – a total of more than £170,000.

Chelsea said in a statement: “Ticket touting is known to have links to organised crime. The above action taken against touts operating around Stamford Bridge sends a strong message to others looking to engage in such criminal and anti-social behaviour.”

The club said that it already employs a series of “visible preventative measures” on matchdays to warn supporters about touting, including signage outside the stadium and along the Fulham Road to inform visitors of the risks of purchasing tickets from unofficial sources. There will soon also be an installation of additional signage and matchday messages at Fulham Broadway station.

Chelsea also reminded fans that it operates a ticket exchange policy that enables season ticket holders and members who cannot attend a match the opportunity to lawfully sell their ticket online to other season ticket holders and members.

The statement continued: “We remain committed to working alongside the Metropolitan Police and Local Authority to eradicate ticket touting from Stamford Bridge and will continue to operate a comprehensive and long-term operation to combat this problem. We will also continue to work alongside other organisations and venues on anti-touting techniques.

“This football club will not tolerate touting and will continue to identify offenders and take further legal action through the Courts to ensure that our club and the surrounding area are safe for our loyal supporters and visitors.

“Individuals found in possession of unlawfully purchased tickets will be refused entry to the stadium or removed from it.”

Image: Tuga M