Chelsea has opened what is claimed to be a groundbreaking legal effort to combat ticket touting, with other English Premier League football clubs reportedly set to step up their efforts.
UK newspaper The Guardian said Chelsea has gained injunctions against two men who admitted reselling match tickets, a practice illegal under English law, at a High Court hearing.
John Bourke and co-defendant Gary Shepherd admitted resale of a ticket and accepted a court order preventing them from doing so in future. The two men were ordered to cover £14,655 (€16,969/$19,171) of the club’s legal fees and agreed not to go within 400 yards of Stamford Bridge stadium or 200 yards of Fulham Broadway underground station.
Both men have also been ordered to hand over to Chelsea any tickets they may still have in their possession, as well as records of sales for past or future games. The judge, Mr Justice Stewart, said this would aid Chelsea in determining season ticket holders or members who made their tickets available to touts. Bourke said: “I’m a tiny, weeny cog in the running of it. A tiny cog in the biggest clock in the world.”
Chelsea is said to have responded to complaints from fans about the number of touts operating in the vicinity of Stamford Bridge. The club has secured temporary injunctions against at least five other men and is seeking full injunctions for three others.
Edward Rowntree of Hardwicke Chambers, representing Chelsea, said: “This is part of a campaign by the club to drive touting away from Stamford Bridge. We hope it won’t be necessary to take this to trial.”
The Guardian said Premier League clubs agreed at recent meetings that more must be done to prevent ticket touting. Chelsea is said to be first club to take legal action.