Tickets were found on sites such as StubHub for almost 40 times the face value, despite football body Fifa instructing that tickets must be bought from its website.
Anyone buying from a third party risks being turned away as tickets can be checked against official Fifa ‘Fan IDs’.
Consumer group Which? found two tickets for the best available seats at Tunisia vs England on June 18 were listed on StubHub for between £480.20 and £11,237.60.
High-profile websites are selling tickets for the World Cup in Russia at rip-off prices – even though buyers could then be refused entry to the ground
This represents a 3,792per cent increase on the face value of the tickets which were available for $420 (£296.35) from the FIFA website.
Which? is warning fans tempted to buy from secondary sites that they run the risk of not only paying over the odds, but of not getting to their event on time or potentially not being admitted to the stadium at all.
FIFA has warned it is entitled to void any ticket purchased via unauthorised distribution channels.
It is also warning that the Russian authorities, as well as FIFA, will be conducting strict admission checks to ensure only purchasers of tickets from official sources are allowed in.
Significantly, people going to games will need a Fan ID document from FIFA in order to get access to stadiums, which can be cross-checked against the ticket.
Managing Director of Home Products and Services at Which?, Alex Neill, said: ‘Football fans need to be aware that if they buy a World Cup ticket from an unofficial source, they risk paying inflated prices and potentially not getting into the game at all.
‘If you don’t want to risk watching the World Cup from the sidelines, you should only buy from the official FIFA reselling website.’ FIFA warned it intends to crack down on the sale of tickets through unofficial sources.
It said: ‘FIFA in cooperation with local authorities, including consumer protection agencies in numerous countries, continues to make efforts to identify and curb unauthorised ticket sales. As a result, a number of unauthorised online ticket sales, offered via websites and on social media originating from various countries, have been stopped during the past months.
‘Furthermore, we have taken concrete legal action against a number of platforms including viagogo, while encouraging fans not to purchase tickets from unauthorised sources.
‘FIFA is entitled to void any ticket purchased via unauthorised distribution channels. During the 2018 FIFA World Cup Russia, FIFA and local authorities will also conduct strict admission checks.’
StubHub said it does not allow the resale of World Cup tickets but, due to a technical error, some were viewable on the site – though it claims they could not be bought
StubHub said it does not allow the resale of World Cup tickets but, due to a technical error, some were viewable on the site – though it claims they could not be bought.
StubHub said: ‘StubHub fully complies with applicable laws; therefore, we do not allow the resale of World Cup tickets on Stubhub.co.uk.
‘Unfortunately, World Cup tickets were, due to a technical error, viewable from – but not purchasable on – our UK site for a limited period but this was promptly fixed. There are currently no tickets available for the World Cup on our UK site.
‘All purchases on StubHub are backed by the StubHub FanProtect Guarantee. This means that StubHub will make sure tickets are delivered on-time and are valid, or they will find comparable or better replacement tickets, or at the very least offer a full refund.’
Ticombo describes itself as an online ticket market, where businesses and fans can trade tickets.
It denied any responsibility if third parties using its website choose to sell tickets to the World Cup.
It said: ‘Ticombo respects the unilateral legitimacy of the free market and movement of goods and pride in delivering on promise.
‘Thus if FIFA has a problem with fans wishing to sell their ticket to a third party, it has a problem not with Ticombo, but with the free market itself. Thus we do not acknowledge the legitimacy of the accusations put forward.’
Author: Nancy Parker
Nancy Parker is a five time Emmy Award winning journalist and seven time Emmy nominee who has spent almost twenty five years covering news in South Louisiana. She has anchored every prime time newscast at WVUE FOX8 during her twenty year tenure in New Orleans.