Stamp Out The Tout

Posted on September 13, 2011

0 - just one website offering tickets at an extortionate price.

An article in this morning’s Irish Independent gave me a sense of joy. The fact that the GAA are looking to stamp out the activities of ticket touts is both admirable and right. A day out in Croke Park is expensive enough without having to pay an extortionate (or at least more extortionate than usual) ticket price.


I joked a few weeks ago that if I somehow managed to find myself in receipt of a ticket I would either, a. use it myself or b. sell it for about €5,000. But it was all in jest. The truth is, I don’t think I would have the gall to take advantage of good, honest fans, some of whom have waited sixteen years to see their team in a final. I know if I was looking for a ticket for an All Ireland that Wexford were playing in, I would certainly not like to be exploited the way some fans are when it comes to tickets.


So yes, it is great that the GAA are standing up and being counted on this issue.


What is not so great is the manner in which they are doing it.


The article states that the GAA have been able to identify tickets from the pictures that are put up on these internet sites. They are able to retrieve the bar code, cancel the ticket and reissue another ticket in its place. This means that anyone who has been unfortunate enough to buy a ticket this way is running the risk of being turned away at the gate on Sunday, perhaps after paying up to €700.


And how, pray tell, is that hurting the touts? It would have been all very well to announce these measures three weeks ago, right after Dublin beat Donegal and when it was plain to see that tickets for the final would be like gold dust. Are we to assume that the GAA has only started looking at tickets on sale online now or have they been keeping an eye for the last few weeks?


If the latter is the case then they have left it far too late to issue this statement and have, as such, let fans down.


For anyone who already has a ticket by online means, going back to the tout is probably going to prove fruitless – the chances of even being able to track some of them down at this stage is probably next or near impossible.


So while the GAA is making its stand against the touts, it is the touts who have already made their money from tickets who are getting off scot-free while the punter pays the price for resorting to desperate measures to see their team play.


Yes, a punter should not be asked to pay more than face value for a ticket but the truth this year is that some, many have. I would wager that there are some fans in Dublin who have close to bankrupted themselves to get tickets for this game and they are entitled to spend their money that way if they want to.


The GAA, similarly, is entitled to chase down touts and stamp out this disgusting practice that infects the game. But to punish people who had no choice but to turn to the touts is ridiculous and grossly unfair. By doing it this way, not only is the tout robbing fans, but the GAA is too.


Touts must be chased underground; there is no doubt about that. But the GAA has to find a better and fairer way to do it. The Dubs have waited a long time for this All Ireland. It would be a shame for some to miss it after sacrificing so much to get their ticket.

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