Skip to main content

Rugby World Cup Tickets

Volume 572: debated on Thursday 12 December 2013

We are in regular contact with the England rugby 2015 organising committee. We have provided advice on a range of options to manage the risk of ticket touting.

Will the Minister look again at making the rugby world cup an event of national significance like the Olympics, which would mean that fans would be able to buy tickets at face value? If the Minister reconsiders, Labour would help to deliver the necessary legislation in the new year so that real fans do not get ripped off by ticket touts.

I believe the event will be of real national significance. It is a wonderful opportunity for people to take up rugby and to be inspired by sport. I have every confidence that tickets will be dealt with fairly and properly.

If fans from New Zealand and Australia buy tickets for the world cup final in the expectation that their team will get there and one or both are knocked out in the semi-final, we will need a mechanism to allow supporters from those countries to sell them on to the supporters of the countries that are in the final. Does the Minister therefore not accept that the resale of tickets for the rugby world cup is not only inevitable, but desirable?

My hon. Friend makes an interesting point. At the end of the day, we want people to be able to watch a fantastic rugby tournament. The Government do not believe that legislation is necessary to control tickets; we believe that organisers, promoters and ticket agents should be looking at what they can do to protect customers and to make events accessible.

Tickets for the rugby world cup final are already on sale on viagogo for more than 10 times face value, and that is before tickets have even gone on sale to the general public. Is that not another example of why the Rugby Football Union is so keen for tickets to be protected so that ordinary fans can enjoy the sport? Why will the Government not take the action necessary to protect ordinary fans?

Fans are going to enjoy the tournament and fans are going to enjoy this sport. As I have set out, we believe it is right for organisers, promoters and ticket agents to deal with access to events and tickets. Successive Governments have concluded that regulation should be the last resort.

14. Does the Minister agree that the Government are absolutely right to be focusing on encouraging as many young people as possible to take up this wonderful sport, and that the best advice we could give to anyone who feels that they are about to be ripped off by ticket touts is simply to shun them? (901617)

As always, my hon. Friend makes a good and important point. We must not spoil this opportunity. It will be a fantastic occasion and we want people to be inspired by sport, inspired by rugby and to have a wonderful time.

The House will have heard the powerful points put by my hon. Friends. Next year, 2.3 million tickets will go on sale for rugby union world cup matches in this country. It is the third-largest sporting tournament in the world. As the Minister knows, the organisers want to protect rugby fans from ticket touts and are asking for us to do the same as we did in the Olympics and ban the secondary ticketing market. So far, she is refusing to do this. We would help with the legislation, as my hon. Friend the Member for Blaenau Gwent (Nick Smith) rightly said. Will she think again so that the 2015 rugby union world cup can be enjoyed by rugby supporters, not exploited by ticket touts?

The event will be enjoyed by rugby supporters and not exploited by ticket touts. I met England rugby 2015 recently and am aware of its concerns. I will always listen, but I am confident that mechanisms are in place to ensure that this event is enjoyed and not spoiled. There are many different mechanisms that can be put in place, including barcoding, named tickets and staggered releases, and I am delighted that 500,000 tickets will go on sale through the RFU’s members next May.