Fans who purchased tickets to the 2022 FIFA World Cup in Qatar got their first glimpse of the ticket resale platform they are required to use by event organizers this week, and it is a tightly restrictive one. The official resale platform is the only authorized option for those who can’t make it to a game that they hold tickets for, but it offers no choice for consumers but to lose money on the sale of the highly coveted tickets, while the event organizers profit with each successive sale.

“The Official Ticket Resale Platform provides an opportunity for an original purchaser of a ticket purchased in accordance with the Online Ticket Terms of Sale for General Public (including a purchaser of a ticket on the Resale Platform) to obtain a refund of a portion of the price they paid for any such ticket that they no longer wish to use for themselves or a guest, subject to FIFA Ticketing being able to resell the ticket to a resale ticket purchaser,” reads the official ticket resale page for the event on FIFA’s website.”

In plain English, that means that despite the potential that fan demand for the tickets that someone can’t use and wants to sell being sky high, they can only hope for a partial refund on their price paid rather than whatever price the free market might be willing to pay for the event. Meanwhile, FIFA can rake in ticket-related fees on every transaction. For the original ticket purchaser, each ticket resold will be subject to fees equal to the greater of two Qatari Riyals or five percent of the original price paid. Meanwhile, the purchaser of a resale ticket will be charged a transaction fee equal to the same amount (the greater of two Qatari Riyals or five percent of the original price paid.)

Other restrictions are also harmful to consumers compared to a less restrictive ticketing system not tightly held by the event operators. If, for example, the original ticket purchaser wants to part with “guest” tickets on their account, they are free to do so (while still losing money). However, if they themselves can’t attend a match but those holding their “guest” tickets can, they can’t sell them on, as all tickets associated with their order would be cancelled if the person who bought the tickets in the first place can’t attend.

Currently, the ticket resale period will only be open through August 16, even though the event doesn’t start until November. A second resale window will be available at a later date.

Such policies are only likely to reinforce a off-label black market for FIFA World Cup tickets, driving consumers away from ticket marketplaces with consumer protections when there is inevitably too small of a supply to meet whatever demand exists as games are about to kick off.

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