Fifa launches World Cup ticketing complaint against Viagogo

Fifa, football’s global governing body, has filed a criminal complaint in Switzerland against ticketing exchange Viagogo over what it claims is a “breach of the law on unfair competition” relating to ticket resales for this summer’s World Cup in Russia.

Fifa filed the complaint yesterday (Monday) after receiving “numerous complaints” from individuals, consumer protection bodies and other market players over Viagogo’s “opaque and deceptive” business conduct.

Fifa said that it has aligned with other stakeholders that have already filed criminal complaints against Viagogo in Switzerland, where the governing body is headquartered.

In a statement, Fifa said: “Fifa’s ultimate objective in the fight against the secondary ticket market is to prioritise the safety and security of fans and enforce a fair 2018 Fifa World Cup ticketing pricing scheme. Recently, Fifa has held fruitful talks with (European governing body) Uefa in order to coordinate action against unauthorised platforms and established cooperation with the Fédération romande des consommateurs (FRC), the consumer protection association for French-speaking Switzerland, which is a strong advocate against ticket sales conducted through unauthorised sources.

“Fifa reminds all fans that FIFA.com/tickets is the only official and legitimate website on which to buy 2018 Fifa World Cup tickets. Fifa regards the illicit sale and distribution of tickets as a serious issue and views the security implications of the unauthorised transfer and/or resale of tickets as being of paramount importance. In light of the above, we encourage fans not to purchase tickets from unauthorised platforms/sellers.”

The Associated Press news agency noted that Viagogo was today selling tickets for the World Cup, including single seats for the opening match between Russia and Saudi Arabia at more than double face value.

The World Cup will take place from June 14 to July 15 in Russia. Fifa added that tickets for the World Cup that are purchased through unauthorised distribution channels – including all tickets purchased through Viagogo – would be cancelled once identified. Fifa said it reserves the right to refuse entry to anyone in possession of such tickets.