Russia 2018: FIFA files criminal law suit against ticketing website Viagogo

June 6 – FIFA has filed a criminal complaint in Switzerland against the ticket website Viagogo on the eve of the World Cup as part of a crackdown on unauthorised sales.

FIFA has cited the company’s “opaque and deceptive” practices following “numerous complaints” from fans worldwide and warns it will cancel any World Cup tickets identified as having been purchased through the Swiss-based website in order to “prioritise the safety and security of fans”.

FIFA says tickets are only supposed to be purchased through its own website. Earlier this year, FIFA successfully filed for a temporary injunction against Viagogo for advertising tickets to the World Cup before they had been allocated or issued.

“As part of its efforts to protect the fans and prevent unauthorised ticket resales for the 2018 FIFA World Cup in Russia, FIFA filed a criminal complaint on 4 June 2018 based on a breach of the law on unfair competition against viagogo AG with the public prosecutor’s office in Geneva,” an official statement read.

“Over the past months, FIFA has received numerous complaints from individuals, consumer protection bodies and other market players over the opaque and deceptive business conduct of viagogo AG.”

“FIFA took action after aligning with other stakeholders that have already filed criminal complaints against viagogo in Switzerland due to the company’s unfair business practices.

“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.”

According to Britain’s Guardian newspaper, Viagogo was still selling tickets on Tuesday for more than 50 games, including the three England group fixtures against Tunisia, Panama and Belgium.

But FIFA warned anyone who holds a ticket that can be traced to an unauthorised resale site may be refused entry.

“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.

“Tickets purchased via unauthorised distribution channels, including all tickets purchased through viagogo AG, will be cancelled once identified. FIFA reserves the right to refuse entry to the stadium to any holder of such tickets. During the 2018 Fifa World Cup Russia, FIFA and local authorities will conduct strict admission checks.”

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