RFU step up battle against Twickenham ticket touts
By Rob Wildman
England's dismal autumn of autumn of boos and poor performances has failed to dampen the demand for black market tickets, resulting in the biggest crackdown on touts by Twickenham officials.
Paul Vaughan, the commercial director for the Rugby Football Union, reported yesterday that his team were investigating a record 120 allegations of member clubs or individuals dealing in black market tickets this autumn.
Vaughan said a further 27 cases were at the RFU appeals stage, and penalties against clubs or individuals would be announced early next month. He added that the offenders ranged across the sport, from professionals to amateurs.
The clampdown on touts has included the provision of £50,000 to pay for 'shopping' expeditions in which Twickenham staff and volunteers buy tickets on the black market to discover the source.
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RFU bye-laws bar member clubs from selling on tickets for profit. These restrictions enable the RFU to reduce or suspend ticket allocations.
Vaughan said that the RFU were continuing the fight against 'pirate' hospitality companies. He estimated that some 4,000 tickets a game went to unofficial operations. "We're still getting calls from companies who have spent £20,000 on tickets and get nothing in return," he added.