Briefing for the Public Petitions Committee Petition Number: PE1380 Main Petitioner: Andrew Page Subject: Prohibiting the resale of football tickets Calls on the Parliament to urge the Scottish Government to introduce legislation prohibiting the resale of football tickets for Scottish domestic and international fixtures, in line with similar legislation currently in force in England and Wales as well as the Netherlands.
Background A House of Commons Standard Note (April 2009) observes that, “There is no generally agreed definition of “touting”, but the term “tout” is commonly understood to be refer to someone who deliberately buys tickets to an event in order to resell them at a profit.”1 The rules governing the resale of football tickets are explicitly set out for England and Wales in the Criminal Justice and Public Order Act 1994 which prohibits any unauthorised person from selling tickets for designated football matches. The Act came into force in November 1994. Under section 166 of the Criminal Justice and Public Order Act 1994, it is a criminal offence for an unauthorised person to tout tickets for football matches in public places, even if this is done on a day other than that on which the match is being played. It is also an offence to resell tickets in any way if this is done in the course of a trade or business - this seeks to catch mail order resale of tickets. These provisions only apply to tickets for designated football matches, i.e. those designated for the time being by orders made under section 1(1) of the Football Offences Act 1991. Currently, designated matches for these purposes include Football League, Premier League, European (UEFA) and international matches played at major grounds. The Violent Crime Reduction Act 2006 updated ticket touting provisions in connection with football to cover unauthorised internet ticket sales and other ticket touting practices designed to circumvent prosecution under pre-existing provisions. Associated secondary legislation, which came into force on 6 April 2007, reaffirmed the policy of designating all football matches in England and Wales where disorder might arise from a failure to adequately segregate fans 1
(which ticket touting can undermine). The accompanying explanatory memorandum elaborates: “This instrument is being made to establish the specific criteria of a designated association football match for the purposes of the football ticket touting legislation. The instrument replicates the existing designation of a regulated football match for the wider purposes of Part II of the Football Spectators Act 1989.” In the Netherlands, the resale of football tickets is illegal unless it is undertaken through the official reseller http://www.skelper.nl/ In Scotland, ticket touting in a public place is an offence under the Civic Government (Scotland) Act 1982, but this offence requires an element of giving reasonable cause for annoyance. In certain circumstances, ticket touts may also be subject to the Price Indications (Resale of Tickets) Regulations 1994. The Regulations do not prohibit any method of ticket resale or place any controls on the level of the price which may be charged for a ticket but their aim is simply to ensure that the consumer is given sufficient information about the quality of a ticket before deciding whether to buy it. There is no specific law with regard to the resale of football tickets.
Scottish Government Action The Scottish Government have told me: “Ticket touting is an issue which manages to raise a whole range of views and covers not just sport but also in particular music and culture. The Scottish Government firmly opposes ticket touting, it exposes fans to unscrupulous practices which can involve a heavy financial cost with little guarantee. Having recognised the importance of tackling ticket touting the Scottish Government has already taken action under the devolved powers available to protect specific events through the Glasgow Commonwealth Games Act 2008 (Section 17) prohibiting unauthorised ticket sales during the 2014 Commonwealth Games in Glasgow. We do however urge all consumers to ensure that, when they are buying tickets, they do so from official and reliable sources and there are existing schemes in place to help with this such as consumer direct.”
Attendances at football matches in Scotland The petition requests the Parliament to urge the Scottish Government to prohibit, through legislation, the resale of football tickets for Scottish domestic and international fixtures. The Scottish Football Association have set up an official Scotland Supporters Club for fans to join helping to ensure the right people get access to tickets for international fixtures. Domestically, football clubs have their own systems and procedures in place to ensure that they are providing supporters with tickets for matches.
It should be noted that attendances at most Scottish domestic football matches, including Scottish Premier League(SPL) matches, are typically well below stadia capacity (see table below), making ticket touting less likely. Whilst this does not mean that there are no games that sell out in Scotland (when ticket touting may become an issue), it is clear that the number of SPL games where touting might be an issue is fairly limited and probably centres around the four Old Firm games each season and the Edinburgh derbies. Other football games that may sell out include the Scottish Cup Final and certain Scottish international games but, again, these will number only two or three games a season. Attendances in the Scottish Premier League (at 13 December 2010) Team
Average % Occupancy
Inverness Caledonian Thistle
http://soccernet.espn.go.com/stats/attendance/_/league/sco.1/scottish-premierleague?cc=5739 3 http://www.sportmapworld.com/map/soccer/scotland/scottish-premier-league/
Scottish Parliament Action On 22 May 2006, Pauline McNeil MSP lodged a motion4 in the Scottish Parliament offering Parliamentary support to a campaign to prohibit the unauthorised resale of tickets for concerts and events. The motion attracted cross-party support. The Parliament has not considered specifically the resale of football tickets. As noted above, the Glasgow Commonwealth Games Act includes a provision banning ticket touting of Commonwealth Games tickets. The Parliament considered this provision as part of its overall consideration of the Glasgow Commonwealth Games Bill. Iain McIver Senior Researcher 15 December 2010 SPICe research specialists are not able to discuss the content of petition briefings with petitioners or other members of the public. However if you have any comments on any petition briefing you can email us at [email protected]
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