English Rugby
RFU celebrate ticket ruling
ESPNscrum Staff
April 1, 2011
RFU business operations director  Paul Vaughan, January 21, 2003
RFU business operations director Paul Vaughan has welcomed the ruling © Getty Images

The Rugby Football Union has hailed the impact of a court order that will allow them to identity fans selling Twickenham tickets at inflated prices through online ticket exchange site Viagogo.

In a landmark ruling - the first action of its kind by a national governing body - the RFU can now find out who has breached its ticketing terms and conditions by selling to secondary ticketing sites. The RFU's case related to England's 2010 autumn international and 2011 Six Nations fixtures at the stadium. While the RFU did not accuse Viagogo of any wrongdoing it claimed it had "facilitated or become mixed up in'' wrongdoing allegedly committed by others.

The RFU successfully argued that when tickets are transferred at a price higher than face value, the licence or permission represented by the ticket automatically expires or is revoked, so that the holder of such a ticket who gains entry is a trespasser.

RFU business operations director Paul Vaughan said, "We are delighted to have been granted this order which means that Viagogo will need to supply us with information about anyone who placed tickets for sale on their site from the Investec Internationals in November and this year's RBS 6 Nations.

"Once we get that information we will then decide what action to take against those individuals, clubs or educational institutions. Any Twickenham Stadium match tickets which appear for sale on Viagogo are effectively 'black market' tickets.

"Our action in tackling Viagogo head on in the court shows that we take the strongest stance possible against these marketplaces and regularly police them as far as we are able. "Individuals who believe they have anonymity by trading their tickets through such secondary sales sites are no longer invisible and we will do our utmost to ensure that tickets go to genuine fans rather than people who wish to profit."

The RFU will now consider the position of other similar sites in the lead up to hosting the 2015 Rugby World Cup and hopes it will benefit other sports in their own battles against the black market.

In his ruling Mr Justice Tugendhat had said: "I conclude that RFU has no straightforward or available means of finding out the information it seeks by this application, and that the making of the order sought is necessary.''

He said he had no reason to doubt its case that such re-sales undermined its legitimate objective of promoting the sport. "The fact that this is not financial damage is immaterial in my judgment.''

He dismissed as having "no merit'' Viagogo's claim that the RFU's real intention was to use publicity generated by the case to damage its business by warning off prospective users of the website.

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