February 16, 2010 11:06 pm

Ticket resale sites escape curb threat

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Online ticket exchanges will continue to be able to resell tickets for “crown jewel” sporting events after the government decided not to regulate the controversial market in secondary ticket sales.

Gerry Sutcliffe, the sports minister, suggested last year that the resale of tickets on online exchanges for certain important national sporting events, such as football World Cups or the Wimbledon tennis championships, might be banned.

But after a three-month consultation, the government has decided to let exchanges, such as Seatwave and Viagogo, regulate themselves. Mr Sutcliffe said: “The best way forward is to encourage a strong, self-regulated primary market, but one that recognises the need for a healthy and safe secondary market.”

The report ruled out even a system of voluntary restraint by exchanges regarding important sports events, saying: “The proposed system was described in consultation responses as confusing and unworkable.”

The decision is likely to anger some in the music and sporting industries, who have complained that such exchanges drive up the costs of tickets.

Jazz Summers, manager of the music band the Verve, said: “This report is a whitewash – a waste of time and money. I do not think it is helpful for the health of the music industry, as it will mean concert-goers are likely to pay more for big name acts and not support the smaller acts of the future.”

Joe Cohen, founder and chief executive of Seatwave, said: “It is clear to all that a transparent and safe secondary market, such as that offered by Seatwave, is in the interests of fans and the live events and sporting industries.”

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