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Thursday 14 December 2017

GAA calls for ticket touting to be made a criminal offence

Mary Mitchell O’Connor Picture: Photocall
Mary Mitchell O’Connor Picture: Photocall

Robin Schiller

The GAA has called for ticket touting to be made a criminal offence to prevent "extortionate priced" and fraudulent tickets being sold on the streets as well as online.

Other sporting bodies, including the FAI, have also expressed their support for the introduction of legislation to regulate ticket resale and the secondary market.

However, one of the country's main ticket distributors, Ticketmaster, said it is not in favour of such legislation as it would only "push the market underground or offshore".

The statements were submitted as part of a public consultation on the resale of tickets for entertainment and sporting events, received by the Department of Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation.

In their submission, representatives for the GAA said penalties should be put in place to stop tickets for its events being touted.

When asked if legislation should be introduced to regulate ticket resales and the secondary market, the GAA said: "Absolutely. The current legislation in no way reflects the technological developments of recent decades. It does not act as an incentive for the civil authorities to challenge the on-street touting at our fixtures or extortionate pricing on online sites.

"Touting in its various forms should be classified as a criminal activity with appropriate penalties in place, whether this be on the street, online or private trading of tickets above face value or fraudulent tickets."

The FAI also believes legislation should be introduced to "address the lack of an effective deterrent" to purchasing chunks of tickets to generate profits.

Meanwhile, the IRFU said it "welcomed" the opportunity to further discuss any proposed legislation as the control of tickets is of "paramount importance".

However, a number of organisations, including Ticketmaster, said legislation would not help effectively regulate the market.

In its submission, Ticketmaster said: "Therefore, any legislation in Ireland will simply achieve the same effect as seen elsewhere; resale will not cease, it will go offshore and underground - out of the reach of the consumer protection authorities."

Jobs Minister Mary Mitchell O'Connor said the "widest possible debate" should be adopted before a decision can be made.

Irish Independent

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