THE RFU has won a legal victory to support its efforts to prevent the resale of tickets for international matches online at inflated prices.
The Supreme Court in London dismissed an appeal by secondary ticketing website Viagogo against an order forcing it to identify people who had used its website to sell on tickets for autumn internationals in 2010 and Six Nations games in 2011.
However, Viagogo struck a defiant note, saying it would continue to offer tickets for England matches including this weekend’s game against South Africa at Twickenham.
A number of football clubs and tennis event organisers have signed partnerships with Viagogo and rival StubHub, owned by EBay, to allow fans to sell unwanted tickets online. However, the RGU argues that the practice risks pricing out ordinary fans.
“Selling tickets through secondary ticketing sites is against our terms and conditions and allows prices to be inflated, preventing many of our supporters from purchasing,” said Sophie Goldschmidt, the RFU’s chief commercial officer. “We now plan to identify such sellers and take tough sanctions to keep our tickets off secondary ticket sites and in the right hands.”
The RFU can reduce allocations to member clubs if they sell tickets online, “name and shame” offenders or ultimately try to recover their profits through court action. The battle between the RFU and Viagogo is likely to intensify in the run-up to the 2015 World Cup which England will host. Tickets for England’s game with South Africa were on offer for prices of between £125 and £200 on Viagogo’s website after the ruling.
Meanwhile, South Africa coach Heyneke Meyer was relieved to be able to include his “enforcer” Eben Etzebeth to face England after the lock was cleared of an eye-gouging charge. Etzebeth appeared before a disciplinary hearing on Tuesday after being cited for allegedly making contact with the “eye or eye area” of Scotland fly-half Greig Laidlaw. The judicial officer, David Martin, decided the contact had been accidental and ruled Etzebeth available to play at Twickenham. Meyer, who named Etzebeth in an unchanged Springbok starting line-up from their 21-10 victory at Murrayfield, said: “He is one of the enforcers in the team.”
Elsewhere, Argentina prop Juan Figallo was last night banned for three weeks for head-butting France captain Pascal Pape in his side’s 39-22 loss on Saturday.
He was cited after the match for an alleged strike of an opponent with his head and the charge was upheld by an IRB-appointed judicial officer, who found it to be at the mid-range of offending, a statement said. He will be suspended until midnight on 9 December, although he had already been left out of the squad to take on Ireland on Saturday.
South Africa team: PZ Kirchner (Blue Bulls); JP Pietersen (The Sharks), J de Jongh (Western Province), J de Villiers (Western Province, captain) F Hougaard (Blue Bulls); P Lambie (The Sharks), R Pienaar (Ulster); G Steenkamp (Toulouse), A Strauss (Cheetahs), J du Plessis (The Sharks), E Etzebeth (Western Province), J Kruger (Blue Bulls), F Louw (Bath), W Alberts (The Sharks), D Vermeulen (Western Province). Subs: S Brits (Saracens), H van der Merwe (Leinster), P Cilliers (Western Province), F van der Merwe (Blue Bulls), M Coetzee (The Sharks), E Jantjies (Golden Lions), J Taute (Golden Lions), L Mvovo (The Sharks).