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June 2021

It is ludicrous that Arsenal are still saying they are trying to stop ticket touting

By Tony Attwood

Gradually the issues following last night’s fiasco have begun to emerge.

Cologne have been charged by Uefa with crowd disturbances, setting of fireworks, throwing objects and acts of damage.   Arsenal have been charged with the blocking of stairways in an away supporter section.

Arsenal’s statement however includes the comment that, “Many tickets were sold through touts and this is very disappointing and something we continue to work hard to address.”

But just how hard is Arsenal working to allow people who are honest and reasonable card carrying Arsenal supporters to go about their business of the supporting the club in a reasonable manner?

Certainly they have a fair amount of law to use including the Criminal Justice and Public Order Act 1994, the Violent Crime Reduction Act 2006, and the Ticket Touting (Designation of Football Matches) Order 2007.

Section 166 of the Criminal Justice and Public Order Act 1994 makes it an offence to sell a ticket for a designated football match or otherwise to dispose of such a ticket to another person, but this old act is now seen as not a very potent weapon against touts and so although it is still on the statute books, it has in practice been replaced by the other acts.

Section 53 of the Violent Crime Reduction Act amended Section 166 of the Criminal Justice and Public Order Act makes it an offence for newspapers to carry advertising for ticket touts, and stops touts trying to claim that they are giving a ticket away free with another product, including  hospitality/travel package, and by applying Section 166 to those people who supply touts with tickets.

The act and amendments made it clear that the price of the ticket is immaterial and the issue is whether public order is put in jeopardy by for example decreasing the segregation of supporters at football matches.  That clearly is what we saw last night.

Likewise the sale of the ticket does not have to be “in the course of business”.  Any transaction of a ticket to another person can be caught by this law, which means if I buy a ticket and pass it on to anyone else, I can be caught under this Act.

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The Ticket Touting (Designation of Football Matches) Order 2007 makes it clear the legislation noted above includes any match involving one or more teams which are members of the Premier League, the Football League or the Football Conference, and includes all Champs League, Europa League and other such tournaments.

The legislation can be used in conjunction with football banning orders.   A conviction for ticket touting carries with it a maximum penalty of a fine of £5,000. A football banning order can also be imposed on a tout as a preventative measure.

Section 53 of the Violent Crime Reduction Act included in the definition of ticket touting trading on the internet. This would only, however, fall within the scope of the Act if any part of the transaction occurs within England and Wales as that is the limit of the Act’s territory. If this is to happen then an offence will have occurred.

So it is just possible that someone with an Arsenal membership might have got a ticket for last night’s game but then driven to Scotland and sold it on the internet to a German fan.  But that seems very unlikely.

More likely some gold, silver, red and club level members sold their tickets on to touts who sold them on to Cologne supporters.   And surely the club must know who these members are, because when Cologne scored in the first half, all their supporters were on their feet celebrating.  So the seat number is known, the owner is known and the sale of the seat on is visible.

Likewise, if you come out of Arsenal station in the two hours before a game you will find lots of people walking up and down saying “who wants tickets” and “buy and sell tickets”.   I understand that these people are not committing an offence, but if the club wants to stop the practice of touting it can simply introduce a series of stings of people pretending to want tickets being led through the process and then the individual arrested.  We do after all live in the country that has more surveillance cameras per 1000 people than any other country in the world, so it would be good if it could be put to some use.

Cologne: the aftermath.

Today’s anniversaries

Henry Norris at the Arsenal

12 comments to It is ludicrous that Arsenal are still saying they are trying to stop ticket touting

  • Bridgers

    There is no serious attempt at tackling this issue. I see the same touts week after week, the law provides for them to be arrested and then served with banning orders. If they are then caught within the designated “banned area” they commit a further offence. It’s just that it isn’t high priority so doesn’t get tackled. It seems that as long as the club are getting their money they don’t care.

  • John Ball

    There are always touts at every approach to the ground, not just outside Arsenal station. I believe the Met have a lot to answer for over yesterday’s events. Firstly, they allowed thousands of cologne fans to setiously disrupt the west end. It was clear their next move would be en masses to the Emirates. What did the Met do – absolutely nothing. As we well know, European awayday for the well behaved arsenal fan involves the obligatory deep search, the flanking by heavily armed and intimidating riot police, and the escorted route march to and from the stadium. It is clear from all the drums and flairs on show last night that the stewards didn’t bother with any form of search on visiting fans. So, on the day we have another terrorist incident in London, it is chilling to think that terrorists could very easily have entered the Emirstes last nigh, and caused carnage INSIDE the stadium. The Met needs to provide some answers.

  • Richard Morten

    The selling of tickets outside the ground is ridiculous, you can spot them away off and if the club wanted to do something about it could, it has ignored the matter for years and I have never seen action taken.

    As you state the amount of CCTV, means that it should be possible to identify the majority of Cologne fans who entered the Arsenal supporter areas, through facial recognition as they entered the ground against those who celebrated their goal, even if they are not in the right seat. This will allow Arsenal to identify the original purchaser of the ticket and take action.

    The sad matter of fact is that many Arsenal fans simply felt unsafe and as a result rather than risk being caught up in what was going on returned home. I always feel safe at Arsenal though this cannot be said of last night.

    The game happened and many Arsenal fans who lost out on the experience. Those that did enter the ground then had to deal with the Cologne fans who had entered the home supporter areas on mass. We should be proud as fans that as supports of Arsenal that the behaviour of our fans are an asset to the club.

  • The club should check seat allocation, confirm the identities of touts and give them a ban for a fixed term.

    However I cannot see how this was our fault as a club

  • SamuelAkinsolaAdebosin

    First of all, let me sympathize with those 18 London underground train passengers who were reported to have been injured by an explosive that exploded in the train that was planted in it by people or peoples suspected to be likely terrorists. Let the Lord sooth their pains and helps them to recover fast. Amen.

    Ticket touting has become the parts and parcels of football money making business but illegally. Some people live on it as a job to make ends meet. And I believe the Law that prohibits ticket touting is very much aware of this illegal civil way of earning money for a living but it has decided to look the other way since it is not an outright criminal offence but an unlicensed civil money making venture offence for the purpose of earning a living.

    I think the outbreak of civil disobedience that occurred yesterday night in and around the Emirates Stadium as a result of the upsurge in the numbers of the away fans wanting to watch the Arsenal vs FC Klon EL match has as a consequence calls for an upgrade of the Ems Stadium sitting capacity considerably from the present sitting capacity of just a little over 60,000 to say 70,000 – 75,000 within the shortest possible time. Had it been the Emirates Stadium sitting capacity is up to 75,000 sitted fans, the away fans raucous that happened yesterday would have minimized to a lesser degree as Arsenal would have allotted the FC Klon away fans 10,000 seats to sit. And give 5000 seats to the awaiting season ticket to buy season tickets. And could henceforth be allotting the 10,000 seats to the away fans in the Premier League and so on. But if the away fans cannot use all their allotted tickets, the ones they’ve returned will be given to the Arsenal home fans or any independent fans to buy them. Even touts will buy them if given to them to buy.

    Let’s thank God for His saving Arsenal at the hands of FC Klon who almost embarrassed Arsenal yesterday night at the Ems. As if after playing on the psyche of the Gunners with a crowd disturbance that led to the delay of the match kickoff by an hour was not enough, they took an early lead of a goal in the game that lasted on to first half. But Arsenal came back strongly in the game in the 2nd half to score 3 goals that killed off the Klon resistant in the game and the unruly behaviours of their rampaging fans.

  • para

    Dwain Kaye
    “The club should check seat allocation, confirm the identities of touts and give them a ban for a fixed term.”
    I add as well as escorting them out immediately and ban them for ever.
    The tickets are to be not transferable and id name must match ticket name and id photo must match persons face. People must be turned away at the hint of any discrepancy and it(touting) will then soon die.
    “peoples suspected to be likely terrorists. ”

    (UK does not have forced photo IDs yet). Hmmm, I wonder?

    This next is a little of false news by me: 🙂
    In other news today, the Govt is wondering if the issue of forced photo ID cards is to be revisited.

  • Scuba

    I can’t imagine any scenario where the current Arsenal board actually goes after these ticket holders. At the end of the day, they’re going to value the income from those season tickets over ridding themselves of the inconvenience of dealing with days like yesterday on a few random occasions.

  • Pat

    I still don’t really understand why people didn’t feel safe. There were Cologne fans all over the place where I was and I was right next to the away section as well. But apart from the couple of flares down the front, the atmosphere was excited but not threatening at all.

    In fact I found it refreshing to be mixing with the opposing fans in an atmosphere of friendly rivalry. Maybe if there was more of that there wouldn’t be so much trouble. The singing in the food area was funny. Especially when we all sang Lucas Podolski together.

    It is a real shame that a large crowd of people singing loudly in a foreign language is regarded as something to be afraid of.

    As to stewards and ticket touts, I do think some of the stewards looked very young, and I was wondering how experienced they were. Maybe Arsenal are paying them less and employing fewer. To stop the ticket touts, Arsenal would probably have to employ a full scale army of bouncers. This is never going to happen, is it?

  • Menace

    The touts are not an Arsenal problem. They are lawbreakers & are a police problem. Arsenal sell their seats by issuing a ticket. The ticket for the seat is sold on. The price that the end user pays may be several times face value.

    From the perspective of peaceful arenas, the end users must be of a similar persuasion. The fact that protagonists end up sitting next to each other is an issue for crowd control. Cologne fans are tolerable to Arsenal fans but if that were Spurs or Chelsea or Leeds or Stoke. It would be mayhem.

  • Gord

    Let’s imagine something.

    Arsenal already publishes the prices of seats in some way. Arsenal decides to re-imburse any fan entering the stadium who paid more than the published price for their ticket, upon showing a receipt which is traceable to the original ticket.

    And then Arsenal adds the amount it re-imbursed the fan to the season ticket holder’s bill for next season.

    To publish this widely (minus the part about charging the original ticket holder), “touts” would have to start issuing receipts, as fans would tend to demand it. And Arsenal could institute some kind of multiplication on how much extra it charged a season ticket holder the next year.

    Oh, your season ticket is X pounds Stirling. And your tout surcharge is 3.56 X, so you need to pay 4.56 X for your season ticket.

  • Peter Silverton

    maybe i’m the only sinner here . . . i have, in my time, bought tickets from touts . . . back in the eighties, i could turn up at highbury, double park close to the ground, buy a tout ticket close to kick-off and often pay no more than twenty per cent mark-up . . . top service, saving me time and money and hassle for very little . . . sometimes i would buy tout tickets for big matches, too or if i only decided to go to the match at the last minute, and would then often pay a hefty mark-up – my decision, no one forced me, i didnt feel ripped off . . . i know touts are criminals – in fact, i used to see them gather to share their spoils on monday mornings in a side alley off farringdon rd close to where i worked and, believe me, even my passing presence was, let us say, more than frowned upon . . . yet touts are also a product of limited supply – if there is a finite supply of something and elastic demand, there has to be some mechanism to balance the two sides of the equation – now you might not like that fact but it is a fact – price is one way to balance the equation, queuing is another, rationing is another – arsenal prices are as high as they are because there is a high demand for them – if they were to drop them, that would both increase profit for touts and the temptation for more ticket holders to cash in, given the greater potential profit . . . arsenal and other top clubs are faced with a quandry – they are asked to bring their prices down but they know that would shift a good portion of their income into the hands of criminals (and their online compatriots who are, of course, not criminals, just traders) . . . restricting access to a good or service by any other means than price nearly always results in corruption (see numerous examples around the world – even the nhs, as viewed through the eyes of some americans) . . . touts, hate them as you will, perform a service for the club by effectively setting a ‘real’ price for the tickets . . . the club could, of course, set their own ‘real’ prices by auctioning the tickets themselves or using something like the budget airline ticket model – though then, to stop sell-ons, all tickets would have to be checked against a passport on entry to the ground . . . none of this is fair or equitable or nice but it is the brutal facts of life and humanity . . . from this sinner’s pov, at least . . . you can have cheap tickets, lots of money for transfers and wages, no super-expensive seats and no touts – but you can’t have them all unless you want to be (or soon become), say, barnet fc . .

  • walter davis

    Over thirty percent of Arsenal tickets are not sold to season ticket holders. The club benefits by maximizing ticket revenue and attendance. Ancillary revenue can be gained by sale of refreshments and souvenirs. Seems quite self-defeating (and not sporting) to favor an empty seat in your stadium to a revenue producing supporter of either team. Just don’t behave like a boorish lout, or you will be ejected.