Before the 2018 World Cup tickets were distributed to purchasers, the secondary ticketing site Viagogo AG already had tickets listed for resale – some for nearly four times the price of the original ticket. Now, FIFA has filed a criminal complaint against the site.
The 2018 World Cup is set to kick-off in Moscow on June 14, and this year’s ticket sales have been more strict than ever. FIFA said their website was “the only official and legitimate” way for fans to get tickets, and threatened to cancel tickets that were bought through the secondary market. Fans had to wait in a “line” for hours on FIFA’s website, waiting to get tickets, and even needed to get a special Fan ID in order to enter the country without a visa.
However, the football organization received multiple complaints from fans about Viagogo. The site has tickets listed for the World Cup final in July for $14,093, as well as main grandstand seating for around $4,300. This is nearly four times the price of FIFA’s original ticket price of $1,100. FIFA filed a complaint with the public prosecutor’s office in Geneva, Switzerland, claiming that Viagogo is unfair competition and has “opaque and deceptive business conduct.”
“Tickets purchased via unauthorized distribution channels, including all tickets purchased through Viagogo AG, will be cancelled once identified,” FIFA said Tuesday. “FIFA reserves the right to refuse entry to the stadium to any holder of such tickets.”
In January, FIFA received an injunction in a Hamburg court to ban ticket sales through Viagogo’s German website. FIFA said their main goal is to enforce a “fair” pricing scheme, since fans who arrive at the event with tickets purchased through unauthorized distribution channels, including Viagogo, will be cancelled once identified and will be refused entry. This year’s game will include “strict admission checks.” Despite FIFA’s threats, there are still tickets available to the World Cup on Viagogo’s website, as of today.
So far, FIFA has sold around 2 million tickets for the World cup. Last-minute sales phase tickets are still available at the FIFA website.