Action against Governing Bodies  Allocating Tickets incorrectly

Worldwide sporting events

When a major worldwide sporting event occurs such as the football World Cup or the Olympic Games the organisation of this event will be coordinated by the world governing body of that particular sport. For example the organisation of the Olympics will be coordinated by the International Olympic Committee (IOC) and the organisation of the World Cup will be coordinated by FIFA.

The Ticketing of Major Sporting events

One extremely important aspect of major sporting events is the ticketing side and most notably how many of the tickets will be distributed and to whom.

This aspect will again be coordinated by the world governing body but it follows that each member association representing a certain territory will be provided with an allocation of tickets themselves to be handled in a specific way. For example for the football World Cup each of the FIFA Member Associations participating in the tournament will be given an allocation of tickets for their own fans.

Are conditions attached to these tickets being provided?

There are often certain conditions which will be attached to the allocation of tickets being provided to the member association. One of the most important conditions is that they ensure that the tickets are provided to individual supporters from the country or territory which they represent.

How are they to regulate this?

Member associations or national governing bodies are to regulate this by attaching certain requirements to the ticket request process. For example they may require individuals to provide their passport details so they can ensure that the individual is from that particular country.

Is it fair to do this?

It is not always fair to restrict this simply on grounds of nationality as there may be many supporters of that country who live outside the country and have family members who are from that country. In this situation it may be advisable for countries to offer tickets to individuals who are members of official supporters groups. This will ensure that the individuals who feel most passionately about their team will have access to tickets.

How are these allocations governed?

Each member association will have a Ticket Allocation Agreement in place with the world governing body which will deal with issues such as the following:

  • The allocation of tickets
  • The segregation of supporters
  •  Conditions imposed on the allocation of tickets

When will a member association be deemed to be in breach of the conditions imposed by the Ticket Allocation Agreement?

There have been recent examples of member associations breaching ticket conditions by providing tickets to individuals and companies working as ticket touts rather than providing the tickets to their individual supporters.

This is a clear breach of the terms and conditions of the ticket allocation agreement.

What legal action can a world governing body take in this situation?

In this situation as the member association is in clear breach of their contract then legally the world governing body will be able to terminate the contract. However, this may not always be the most desirable situation.

Why would this not be a desirable situation?

This may not be a desirable situation as although the member association is in breach of the terms of the ticket allocation agreement removing any ticket allocation will have a detrimental impact on the supporters of that country meaning the chance of them getting a ticket for the tournament has been severely increased through no fault of their own.

What would be the preferable option in this case?

The more preferable option in this case would be for the world governing body to limit the allocation of tickets provided to that member association. This will have a detrimental effect on the money which can be made by that member association through ticket sales but will still provide fans of that country with the opportunity of attending the event. This is deemed an effective punishment.

Has this been a scenario which has occurred recently?

This situation has occurred during 2010 as four National Olympic Committees (Member Associations of the International Olympic Committee) were deemed to have provided tickets from their allocation to ticket touts rather than their own fans.

Consequently the International Olympic Committee (IOC) has reduced the ticket allocation of all four National Olympic Committees for the 2012 Olympic Games in London.