Premium tickets cancelled as GAA hits touts
Published 20/09/2013 | 04:00
THE GAA has stepped up its war on ticket touts ahead of Sunday's All-Ireland football final.
In a clampdown on black market activity, Croke Park chiefs have cancelled corporate tickets they acquired after they ended up in the hands of touts trying to cash in on the game.
One company had its premium package deal cancelled as a result.
Amid reports of tickets going for thousands of euro, the GAA also moved to crack down on touts getting tickets through 'special schemes'.
In one instance, a supporter in a special scheme, where members can purchase tickets if the premium holders are not using them, has been struck off the list for black marketeering.
The company, whose long-term premium ticket was touted for sale, had its deal cancelled immediately.
Alan Milton, head of media relations for the GAA, assured anxious fans it was doing everything it could to stop tickets being sold on for massive profits.
"By cancelling company premium tickets, we're sending out a clear message that we expect people to be very careful about where their tickets end up," said Mr Milton.
"In the interests of fairness to the many genuine people who would love to get All-Ireland tickets, it's up to those lucky enough to get one to make sure it does not end up on the black market if they are not using it ."
Mr Milton warned people who have bought tickets on the black market they could be refused admittance at the turnstiles.
"Tickets that come to our attention on the black market will be cancelled, so it doesn't matter how much they have cost, they will be useless at the turnstiles. The message is simple: don't buy on the black market because you may be wasting your money," he said.
Demand has intensified in recent days with as much as €3,000 being sought for premium-level tickets on some websites. Yesterday afternoon stand tickets were offered on eBay for up to €800 each – a 10-fold increase on their face value price of €80. Two tickets for the Cusack Stand Upper fetched €850 on eBay.
Some fans vented their anger with a protest outside the GPO on Dublin's O'Connell Street. Dublin fan Peter Wall, from Summerhill, was among those aggrieved over the ticket allocation.
But Mr Milton said: "If Croke Park was twice the size, we'd have a good chance of selling it out, based on the demand. There are thousands of people returning from overseas for this game while demand here – and not just among Dublin and Mayo people – is huge."
Former Dublin star Ray Cosgrove said the demand for tickets was "mental".
"There will be some very disappointed people who have supported Dublin all summer," said the Kilmacud Crokes man.
He said more should be done by the GAA to ensure that those who can show their ticket-stubs to prove they were at a large volume of the county's summer matches can get tickets. "There should be a way for a genuine fan to get in," he said.
By Martin Breheny and Louise Hogan