- RFU defeats Viagogo's appeal in Supreme Court
- Secondary websites selling tickets face tough sanctions
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The Rugby Football Union (RFU) has today succeeded in defeating Viagogo’s appeal at the Supreme Court.
The landmark judgement follows a long-standing dispute between the RFU and Viagogo dating back to March 2011 to identify those who were offering for sale tickets on the Viagogo website for the 2010 Investec Internationals and the 2011 RBS 6 Nations, breaching the RFU’s ticketing terms and conditions.
In a bid to ensure genuine fans are able to afford to purchase tickets, the RFU is the first national governing body to take action of this kind.
Today’s dismissal of Viagogo’s final appeal sets an important precedent for the sporting industry that rights holders should retain the ability to control their ticketing policy and pricing. If a seller is found to be listing these tickets on secondary websites they face tough sanctions, including possible court action.
The RFU has made the case throughout that it seeks to maintain the price of tickets at a reasonable level in the interests of the public and to promote the sport, by encouraging more people to attend international matches.
RFU Chief Commercial Officer Sophie Goldschmidt said: “We are pleased that this case has finally been brought to an end. As a national governing body, it is our aim to grow the game of rugby. Giving genuine fans the opportunity to watch England play in front of a crowd of 82,000 at Twickenham plays a huge part in helping to achieve that.
“Selling tickets through secondary ticketing sites is against our terms and conditions and allows prices to be inflated, preventing many of our supporters from purchasing. We now plan to identify such sellers and take tough sanctions to keep our tickets off secondary ticket sites and in the right hands.”
In his judgment, Lord Kerr stated: “The entirely worthy motive of the RFU in seeking to maintain the price of tickets at a reasonable level not only promotes the sport of rugby, it is in the interest of all those members of the public who wish to avail of the chance to attend international matches”.
The appeal upholds the decision of Mr Justice Tugendhat in March 2011. The Supreme Court appeal was heard by a five justice panel of Lord Phillips, Lady Hale, Lord Kerr, Lord Clarke and Lord Reed. Viagogo will be now forced to give the RFU the names and addresses of those who advertised for sale and/or sold the tickets for the autumn internationals in 2010 and the Six Nations in 2011.