Friday 6 December 2019

'Shameless gouging of fans' - TD slams online touts flogging Ireland-France tickets for €1,500

Republic of Ireland supporters
Republic of Ireland supporters

Cathal McMahon

Online touts are charging over €6,100 for four tickets for Ireland's crunch clash with France.

Demand for the passes has reached fever pitch and greedy punters are now charging up to 10 times the face value.

On this morning one seller was offering a set of four 'category one' tickets for €1,143 each.

However when handling, booking fees and tax are counted the four passes would set you back €6,143.22.


The face value of the tickets is €145.

One person is looking to sell two category 4 tickets, which have a face value of €25, for €2,041 (including taxes and charges). This is 40 times the face value.

The cheapest ticket on the popular site was €708 – including all charges.

Dublin North TD Noel Rock (FG), who has travelled to Ireland's three group games against Sweden, Belgium and Italy, has slammed the practice.

“It's a complete joke. There should be an absolute clampdown on secondary ticket selling for above face value.

“It's shameless gouging of real fans, plain and simple.”

Ireland face off against France in Parc Olympique Lyonnais, Lyon at 3pm on Sunday.

The FAI was allocated just 1,104 tickets for the massive clash.

Ireland fans were able to purchase 3,500 tickets for the fixture earlier this year.

This means it is likely that the Green Army could number less than 5,000 amongst the 59,186 supporters who will pack into on Sunday.

Veteran Irish fan Steven Krijger explained that a number of fans did not choose the 'Follow my team' option when initially buying passes.

“This is scandalous pricing,” he said. “The French are seemingly making sure they maintain the home advantage.

“I fear that a lot of serious fans will miss out. I have already spoken to a few this morning that have no tickets. They have been there for the three games so far but did not buy the follow my team option.”

Dave Byrne, a spokesman for the You Boys in Green website, said that above price selling has been a problem since ticket sales opened.

“We have passed on many details to the FAI about people touting tickets for some time now.

“It is something that we are very much against. Most Irish fans are very much against this.

“At all levels the pricing has been a disgrace, the trains in France, the airline companies are all taking advantage of fans. Fans are desperate to get over and they will pay this.

“Fans did have an option to purchase conditional tickets so you would be hopeful that a lot of fans will be there to do this.”

A spokesperson for said the prices for Euro 2016 tickets are set by the sellers themselves: "For popular events such as Euro 2016, prices can be higher because there is huge demand and limited supply.

"However, while a seller can list a ticket at any price he likes, it doesn’t mean the ticket will actually sell at that price. Tickets listed at silly prices rarely sell. The reality is that around half the tickets sold on viagogo are priced at or below face value."

The spokesperson claimed that price caps don't work because sellers "just go back to using the black market where no customer protection exists".

"The important thing to remember is that if you didn’t get a ticket to an event for whatever reason, then your options are either to stay at home, take a risk buying from someone outside the stadium, or buy from a secure platform like viagogo where every transaction is covered by our 100% guarantee."

This is small consolation to people like Eamon Kennedy, from Meelick, Co Clare, who is planning to fly over to Lyon for the weekend.

He explained that he has been supporting the Boys in Green for 14 years but now feels betrayed.

“I've watched them [Ireland] when there were so few people in the stadium that it looked it was just a cleaning crew in.

“I was there when we struggled against Andorra, that St Ledger magic against the Italians and getting robbed by the French.

“I was there taking years off my vocal chords and adding to my risk of heart failure. To now not have a ticket is devastating.

“Now my only hope of getting a ticket is finding the stupidest tout in France who is willing to sell me one for under €300.”

He asked: “Where have all the tickets gone? Will it be green in Lyon on Sunday or will it be half blue and the other half in navy suits?”

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