IP Partner, Tom Heremans of CMS Belgium explains the risks of reselling tickets – not least being denied access to the stadium at 2018 FIFA World Cup Russia.
At the European Cup Final at the Heysel Stadium in Brussels in May 1985, 39 people were killed and hundreds injured during violent confrontations between English Liverpool football fans and Italian fans of the opposing team, Juventus. In the wake of that disaster, European and national legislators adopted legislation to increase international police cooperation and prevent and control violence and disturbances in connection with football matches.
In Belgium, the Act of 21 December 1998 on the safety of football matches imposed several obligations on the organizers of professional matches, including concluding agreements with local public authorities and the police, recruiting and using stewards, and denying convicted supporters access to stadiums. The 1998 Act also prohibits the resale of tickets, imposing a fine of EUR 40 to EUR 4,000 and/or a prison term of six months to three years. Reselling tickets is only allowed in Belgium, either with the consent of the event organizer or on a not-for-profit basis.
The statutory prohibition on reselling tickets is often matched by a similar contractual obligation. The organizers of international football matches provide in their terms and conditions that the ticket is personal and cannot be transferred. Otherwise, football supporters may be seated near aggressive supporters, risking violence and disturbances.
The terms and conditions for the upcoming 2018 FIFA World Cup Russia prohibit the resale of a ticket holder’s ticket, except in particular circumstances, such as illness. The reasons for this limitation ruling include: (i) event security, (ii) consumer protection, (iii) preventing the sale of counterfeit tickets and (iv) protecting a fair pricing scheme. If the terms and conditions are violated, tickets will be cancelled and the new ticket holder will be denied access to the stadium.
More information about the relevant FIFA terms and conditions can be found here:
The statutory and contractual rules make it very clear that reselling tickets for 2018 FIFA World Cup Russia is a risky business for both reseller and buyer. While the reseller may be fined or even end up in prison, the buyer may be denied access to the stadium. Both will lose, while their national teams rack up victories!