Munster rugby bosses to tackle ticket touts

MUNSTER rugby bosses yesterday moved to route the touts as the scramble for Heineken Cup final tickets accelerated.

A ‘spare’ ticket appeal was launched to help genuine fans get to the big game in Cardiff on May 20 without being scalped.

Tens of thousands of Millennium Stadium tickets were bought online early in the tournament.

Many of these tickets are believed to be held by fans of teams such as Leinster and Bath who were eliminated in the semi-finals.

The Munster Branch of the IRFU yesterday offered to act as an honest broker to get these tickets into the hands of Munster supporters on a face-value basis to counter wide-scale touting.

And the Leinster IRFU branch has lent its support to the Munster initiative.

Munster Branch treasurer Jim Riordan appealed to “true rugby fans” who have tickets they don’t intend using to channel them back into the IRFU Munster Branch which will ensure they get to Munster fans for their face value.

Mr Riordan said that Munster received an allocation of 7,500 tickets for the Millennium Stadium which has a 72,500 capacity.

“Of this allocation, 3,750 tickets will be divided among the clubs and the other 3,750 will be divided among the supporters club, sponsors, members of the Munster Branch, referees, schools and others.”

He said there was no mechanism to identify ‘blocks’ of tickets purchased online by supporters of other sides and who may not now wish to attend the final.

Mr Riordan said: “We will buy any tickets offered to us for the face value and ensure they are distributed among true fans for the face value.”

IRFU Leinster Branch chief executive Mike Dawson said they would support the Munster move to ensure that as many tickets as possible get to genuine fans and are kept out of the hands of touts.

Some 600 tickets were acquired by Cork-based travel agency Dawson Travel last week.

The agency secured the tickets from British travel agents who had been hoping to sell them to Bath fans, until the English side were eliminated by Munster’s final opponents Biarritz.

A package that includes return flights from Cork to Cardiff and a match ticket went on sale yesterday for €579.

However, owner Pat Dawson said just half the packages are left.

“We sold 95 packages in the first hour of business alone, and I would imagine everything will be gone by close of business today,” he said.

Tickets for next year’s Heineken European Cup final, which will be played at Twickenham, have already gone on sale online.

Contact the Munster Branch website or email or call 061 451392 or 021 4323563.

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