TICKETS to see Stoke City’s FA Cup final clash with Manchester City are selling for more than £1,200 on the internet – before they have even been released for sale.
Several websites are already advertising tickets for sale at prices well above face value in the hope that desperate fans will pay over the odds to get a seat at Wembley.
The resale of tickets for the final is illegal and websites offering them can be shut down.
But The Sentinel has found tickets on www.ticket4football.com on sale from £455 for a seat in the Stoke end, right up to an asking price of £1,235 for a seat in the Longside lower tier at tickets.com” rel=”nofollow” target=”_blank”>www.1st4footballtickets.com. A site called www.livefootball tickets.com is selling tickets in the Stoke section for £403.
Yet the face value of tickets for the final on May 14 has been set by the FA at £45, £65, £85 and £115.
An allocation of 25,082 means all of Stoke’s 21,000 season-ticket holders are guaranteed a seat when they go on sale a week on Monday. The club does not expect any tickets to be left over for general sale.
James Aaron, of customer service at www.livefootball tickets.com, based in Spain, told The Sentinel: “We pay quite a bit over the odds to get them in the first place.
“It’s pretty well known where we get our tickets from. We source them through clubs, corporate sponsors or sometimes the venue.”
The Sentinel was unable to contact www.1st4footballtickets. com or www.ticket4football. com for comment.
After The Sentinel passed details of the three websites to trading standards officers at Stoke-on-Trent City Council, the information was passed on to both the FA and Stoke City to investigate.
Two of the websites are based in Spain while the other provides no details of its base.
Tony Oakman, the city council’s director of adult and neighbourhood services, said: “We’re very concerned that Stoke fans might be getting exploited by sites advertising cup final tickets at hugely inflated prices.
“We’ve spoken to the FA and they’ve confirmed there are no third-party tickets available for the game – only the clubs can sell tickets.
“Tickets provided by the FA to the wider football community are done so on the strict understanding that they are not passed on and are issued against named individuals. It is a criminal offence for an unauthorised person to sell the tickets on.
“We appreciate there is huge demand, but we are warning people to avoid buying tickets from anyone other than the club.
“People buying from other sources are at risk of paying large sums of money with no tickets at the end of it.”
He added: “We have passed details of these websites on to the FA’s ticketing team for them to take action, and we will be looking for other sites.
“If fans have any concerns, they can call Trading Standards on 01782 234234 or Consumer Advice on 08454 040506.”
Staffordshire Police also warned fans to buy tickets from official sellers only.
Stoke City were unavailable for comment.