12 Sep 2014

Fans warned about not buying official RWC tickets

12:50 pm on 12 September 2014

With tickets for next year's rugby World Cup in England going on sale, fans have been warned to buy them through official channels or risk being refused entry to matches.

IRB boss Bernard Lapasset

IRB boss Bernard Lapasset Photo: PHOTOSPORT

Up to a million tickets go on sale Friday night New Zealand time, though 300,000 have already been sold via rugby clubs, and fans have until September 29th to apply.

However, with demand for tickets in Britain expected to be second only to the London 2012 Olympics, there is a growing fear that organised touts could hijack the process.

Unlike the ticketing system for the London Olympics, in which the government introduced legislation banning the unauthorised resale of tickets, the International Rugby Board (IRB) did not apply for the same conditions.

England Rugby 2015 subsequently failed to persuade the government to make touting of World Cup tickets illegal and are hoping that their terms and conditions that forbid anyone buying a ticket from an unauthorised outlet will dampen the market.

In a bid to deter touts, ticket agency Ticketmaster has implemented software that can detect multiple applications but officials accept that they face a difficult battle against increasingly sophisticated operators.

"Fans should only buy through official sources," said England Rugby 2015 communications director Joanna Manning-Cooper, who experienced the benefit of legal protection during her time with the London 2012 Olympics organising committee.

"We are doing everything we can to make sure tickets get into the hands of fans who want to come to the tournament, and not to touts who simply want to sell them on at a profit."

The tournament has to raise $NZ 500 million from tickets and organisers have implemented a wide range of prices.

Prices range from $NZ 30 for the lesser group games - with children's tickets from $NZ 14 - to $NZ 1400 for the most expensive seats at the final at Twickenham on October 31st.

The 20 participating countries will play across England and Wales with Wembley, the Millennium Stadium, Elland Road, Villa Park and London's Olympic Stadium among the venues being used.

The tournament begins on September 18th next year when England play Fiji at Twickenham.

England's pool games against Australia and Wales are likely to be oversubscribed many times over, despite a top price of $NZ 600, and will be decided by a ballot.

However, with tickets for matches such as Samoa v United States starting at $NZ 30, organisers claim there is ample opportunity for fans to see some live action.

Champions New Zealand, who beat France 8-7 in the final in Auckland in 2011, begin their defence against Argentina at Wembley on September 20th.