EXCLUSIVE: England semi-final to be played out in front of empty seats

EXCLUSIVE: England’s World Cup semi-final against South Africa to be played out in front of thousands of empty seats… with organisers under fire for charging up to £500 for tickets

  • France 2023 took court action to maintain their monopoly over ticket sales 
  • Returned tickets had to be sold through official website at original face value 
  • Over two thousand tickets were available for Friday’s World Cup semi-final
  • Latest Rugby World Cup 2023 news, including fixtures, live scores and results

Rugby World Cup organisers have been criticised for anti-competitive ticket polices which will result in thousands of empty seats at England’s blockbuster semi-final against South Africa on Saturday night. 

France 2023 took several secondary ticketing platforms to court earlier this year to ensure they maintained their monopoly over ticket sales, and are insisting that any tickets returned are sold through their website at the original face value.

Over two thousand tickets were still available for resale on World Rugby’s website for the repeat of the 2019 World Cup final on Friday night, with prices ranging up to £300, while hundreds of premium seats costing up to £500 also remain on general sale as they were not sold in the first place. 

In contrast other major sporting events including Premier League football, English cricket at the NFL have partnered with ticket resale such as StubHub and Viagogo to make returned tickets available to fans at discounted prices, as well as enabling supporters who cannot attend games to recoup some of their costs.

‘Attempts to control markets harm fans by limiting their choice, flexibility and access,’ Viagogo’s managing director Cris Miller told Mail Sport. ‘It also risks empty seats when so many people would love to experience these huge events.

England fans were out in force for the World Cup quarter-final against Fiji in Marseille

Argentina fans had to pay up to £500 to watch Friday’s semi-final against New Zealand

‘Rugby fans who have purchased tickets to knockout games their teams will no longer feature in want the flexibility to recoup some, if not all, of their money via a safe platform, whilst giving other supporters a chance to watch their team.

‘Fans want a transparent, competitive and regulated secondary market and that is why it is essential we provide a safe and open marketplace to help them gain access to events.’

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