These leaflets were given out after the Leicester match; AISA advises not to buy or sell from them, it’s illegal ! pic.twitter.com/K7YDY67wGx
— AISA (@AISA_Arsenal) February 17, 2016
AISA are right to warn Arsenal fans about the dangers of dealing with ticket touts.
But AISA’s tweet isn’t the full story. Section 166 of the Criminal Justice and Public Order Act, 1994 makes it an offence for an unauthorised person to sell or otherwise dispose of to another person a ticket to a designated match.
That means it’s not illegal to be given a ticket or to buy a ticket – but it is illegal to sell one.
This may however be a good moment to remember the wise words of the Oracle of Omaha, Warren Buffett:
“If you’ve been in the game 30 minutes and you don’t know who the patsy is, you’re the patsy”.
Guys, when you see a Brussels offering to buy your ticket to the Barcelona match, you’re the patsy.
Even if you buy a ticket from a tout, you’re still the patsy.
Why? Because there’s no guarantee the ticket is even genuine.
As you will see from Arsenal’s own site, there are people out there taking the Michael. I’ve seen with my own eyes people being turfed out of “their” seats when the true ticket-holder comes with their Arsenal dog and giant Pepsi to sit down five minutes after the match has started.
As s166 is on the Schedule of Relevant Offences, a person convicted of touting could potentially also be looking down the barrel of a police application for a Football Banning Order.
I encourage any fan caught up in a touting or football banning order fiasco to get specialist football law advice from a qualified solicitor or barrister asap.
Magistrates Court is not a game – but it is always better to try to kill a case off in the first half.