You’d think ticket touts were a legitimate feature of the events at Wembley because they operate in large numbers without any intervention from the local authorities.
Like a festering wound on Olympic Way, ticket touts have been left untreated; if only the local authority, Brent council had the same motivation for ticket touts as they did for the counterfeit traders of Wembley Market.
It has taken not a local MP but one from the north of England to take action on ticket touting at our National Stadium. Labour MP Sharon Hodgson, marched down Olympic Way, on a ticket abuse fact-finding mission; during the Liverpool v Barcelona International Championship match earlier this month, she found:
- An example where a teenage Barcelona fan paid £170 for a ticket to the match, after a tout had told him the face-value of the ticket was £100, when in fact, it was £26.
- There were also reports after the match that a family from Spain, who had purchased tickets outside the venue, were subsequently turned away as their tickets were invalid for entry.
- A well-known name in the resale of tickets who was in operation on the day was Roger Leigh, business partner to David Spanton, who was responsible for the failure to deliver on 38,000 tickets and convicted in 2012. Other well-known touts in operation on the day, included Leonard Scott & Les Hawkins.
- Touts were in operation from the steps of Wembley Park Tube Station all the way down Olympic Way, and specifically in the area in front of Wembley Park Tube Station where there were up to 30 touts in operation.
In attendance for this fact-finding mission were Sharon Hodgson MP, Kerry McCarthy MP and Nigel Adams MP. After the visit to Wembley Park, Sharon said,
Following our fact-finding mission to Wembley, we uncovered the scope and scale of ticket touts operating on the ground and fleecing fans desperate to get tickets to a hotly anticipated football match at our national stadium. The fact-finding clearly reaffirmed the need for action to be taken by the Government.
Ticket touts were also responsible for Wembley’s high-profile Beyoncé and Rihanna concerts being half empty. Fans were deprived of going to Wembley after Touts bought in bulk the majority of tickets but failed to sell them at rip-off prices, leaving many seats empty.
Isn’t it about time that the panjandrums of Brent took this seriously, local resident complaints have fallen on deaf ears for far too long.