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Northampton Saints and Saracens sanctioned over tickets

05 December 2006

The Rugby Football Union  has imposed sanctions on 24 clubs, constituent bodies and individuals who were found to have contravened the 2006 RBS 6 Nations ticket terms and conditions. 

The measures form part of the Union's strategic plan objective to reduce the number of tickets sold on the black market.

RFU Business Operations Director Paul Vaughan said: "To maintain the growth of the game and participation it's important that being a member of a club has benefits, including access to Twickenham international tickets.  In line with our ticket distribution philosophy, we will continue working to reduce the number of tickets reaching the black market by taking sanctions against those who breach our ticketing terms and conditions by reselling to unauthorised operators.

"For the 2006/7 season, the RFU strengthened its ticketing terms and conditions.  In addition to preventing the resale of tickets, we have now also prevented the advertising of tickets for resale."

The RFU's ticket terms and conditions allow member clubs to sell allocated tickets on to official licensed operators only (see notes to desks)

The sanctions are decided on an individual basis and are judged against the severity of the case in terms of the number of tickets and factors such as whether or not they have offended before.  All sanctions have been approved by the RFU Management Board.

The following clubs have received a 25% reduction in their ticket allocation for one year:  

(i)                  Cambridge RUFC

(ii)                Cheltenham RFC

(iii)               Doncaster RUFC

(iv)              Gloucester Old Boys RFC

(v)                London French RFC

(vi)              Matson RFC

(vii)             Prep School Wanderers RFC

(viii)           Weybridge Vandals RFC

(ix)              Caldy RFC

(x)                Northampton Saints

The following clubs have received a 10% reduction in their ticket allocation for one year:

(i)                  Devonport High School Old Boys RFC

(ii)                Willenhall RUFC

(iii)               Saracens

The following clubs and constituent bodies have received a suspended sentence (ie their reduction in their allocation is suspended for three years but if they infringe the ticket terms again the sanction will be imposed):

(i)                  Amber Valley RFC

(ii)                Bancroft RFC

(iii)               Old Coventrians RFC

(iv)              Salisbury RFC  

(v)                Hertfordshire RFU

(vi)              Yorkshire RFU

The following sanctions have also been imposed:

(i)                 Combined Birmingham Old Boys RFC - no longer eligible for tickets

(ii)                Marple Hill School - loss of allocation for two years

The following debenture holders have lost some or all of their debenture allocation:

(i)                 Paul Clegg

(ii)                Ian Shirley

(iii)               Tudor Davies

Notes

In January 2004 the RFU appointed three official operators licensed to sell ticketed hospitality packages for matches at Twickenham Stadium. The three operators are Mike Burton, Events International and Sporting Class.  They offer packages which are �off site' from the stadium.  Additionally, Twickenham Experience Ltd is the only official on site operator.  The agreement covers all matches at the stadium for a five-year period.

The RFU objective, set out in the RFU eight year Strategic Plan, is to reduce tickets sold on the black market and to ensure that money generated from ticket sales is redistributed to the member clubs in England.  

The RFU's ticket terms and conditions allow member clubs to sell allocated tickets on to official licensed operators to generate revenue. 

The only way that official operators can get tickets is via the clubs as they do not get an allocation direct from the RFU.  The operators pay royalties that are also put back into the sport.  Additionally, clubs are also allowed to package their allocated tickets for genuine sponsors but not to advertise to the general public to buy corporate hospitality.  Clubs are not allowed to sell tickets to any other operator. 

Ticket terms and conditions also prevent buyers from advertising tickets for resale. Regulations state that any tickets found on auction websites will be cancelled with no refund available for the purchaser.  However, the returns policy enables ticket holders to get a refund if returning their tickets at least 48 hours before a match.

At present, legislation on ticket touts only applies in football.  This legislation, if introduced to rugby, would make it legal for the RFU to take all tickets offered by touts without paying for them.  

This year, ticket sales are forecast to bring in approximately a quarter of the RFU's total �80million revenue.