The Paris Court of Appeals upheld a ruling that Viagogo must cease its unauthorized listing and sale of tickets to the French Open at Roland Garros, citing the French Tennis Federation (FFT) as the lone legal seller of the tournament’s tickets.
Viagogo Entertainment Inc. and Viagogo AG argued that tickets to the annual Grand Slam tournament were only listed to buyers outside of France. However, the court ruled that blocking measures put in place were not sufficient and that tickets could eventually end up in the hands of a French resident. Additionally, the court confirmed tickets were being sold under the use of counterfeit Roland Garros brands.
“Just a few weeks before tickets sales open to the general public for the 2020 Roland-Garros tournament, this decision will enable us to fight against the illegal resale of tickets on the VIAGOGO website,” said FFT Director General Jean-François Vilotte in a statement shared on the Roland Garros website. “It demonstrates the FFT’s desire to take a firm stance against the illegal sale of tickets for the events it organises, such as the Roland-Garros tournament and the Rolex Paris Masters.”
As a result of the ruling, the resale company was ordered to pay the French Tennis Federation over €80,000 in damages plus an additional €15,000 in accordance with an article in the French Civil Procedure Code.
Viagogo faced a similar decision in a 2014 court ruling that found it unauthorized to sell tickets for events organized by the French Professional Football League. In that instance, the secondary giant was forced to pay €50,000 in damages to the French Football Federation.
The 2020 French Open is set to run May 18 through June 7 and feature defending champions Rafael Nadal and Ashleigh Barty. The Rolex Paris Masters, which is also organized by the FFT, will take place October 31 through November 8.