Tottenham Hotspur has reiterated its “strong” stance against ticket touts following widespread criticism of the StubHub ticket platform.
The Haringey Independent last week submitted 13 questions to the club about its agreement with the ticket resale website.
There has been growing controversy over the platform since Spurs entered a partnership in July as tickets for home games continue to be sold for several times their face value.
In summary, the club said:
- Only season ticket holders can sell their tickets on StubHub, and prices are set by fans
- StubHub is a secure platform and should not be confused with ticket touting
- Tottenham Hotspur receives no money from transactions
- Opposing fans found sitting in the home fans section of White Hart Lane can be refused entry or ejected from the stadium
Spurs added that it will review its relationship with StubHub platform following a barrage of complaints that it was “exploiting” fans.
The north London club signed a three-year deal with the ticket website last year to replace its own Exchange system.
Since then the platform has been repeatedly criticised by fans for inflating ticket prices.
Last week the Tottenham Hotspur Supporters Trust said it would complain to the All Party Parliamentary Group on Ticket Abuse.
The club defended the platform saying: “Only season ticket holders can sell their seats on the StubHub platform and this can only happen once a game has sold out.”
It added that all One Hotspur members who wished to purchase a ticket for games had an opportunity to do so directly from the club.
A club spokesman also stressed that StubHub provided a “secure platform” where a buyer is guaranteed a legitimate ticket.
He said: “We have had a strong stance against touting over a number of seasons and will continue to do so in the future – this is in no way affected by having the deal with StubHub in place, nor should the StubHub ticket facility be confused with this practice.”
According to the supporters' trust, tickets to this season’s Premier League games against Chelsea and West Ham were sold at an average price of 135 per cent and 53 per cent above face value respectively.
Possibly to draw attention to lack of a price ceiling, one fan advertised his ticket for the Spurs vs Arsenal match at £1.1m, which rose to almost £1.4m once SubHub’s 15 per cent booking fee and 12 per cent commission fees had been included.
In protest to the StubHub platform, fans have begun to exchange tickets at face value via the social media platforms, such as Twitter.
The club's full response can be read below:
A club spokesman: “Stubhub is an officially recognised, outsourced, direct replacement for the Exchange system which was previously operated by the club. Only season ticket holders can sell their seats on the Stubhub platform and this can only happen once a game has sold out. The system has been open for the majority of our games although for many fixtures this has been after tickets have reached general sale status, meaning that all One Hotspur members that wished to purchase a ticket for these games had an opportunity to do so directly from the club.
"Stubhub is a self-regulating marketplace, where Spurs season ticket holders set the price - this is about Spurs fans selling to Spurs fans. We always encourage our season ticket holders to price their tickets sensibly when listing them for sale when they are unable to attend a match.
“We have had a strong stance against touting over a number of seasons and will continue to do so in the future – this is in no way affected by having the deal with Stubhub in place, nor should the Stubhub ticket facility be confused with this practice. Stubhub provides a safe and secure platform backed by their guarantee that the buyer is guaranteed a legitimate match ticket. At every match we deal with supporters, often from overseas, who have been the victim of unofficial websites or illegal street ‘touts’. These people have usually paid large amounts of money for tickets that usually don’t exist or are occasionally forgeries and unfortunately are unable to attend the match they intended. It is important to stress the club receives no money from transactions carried out on Stubhub.
"All tickets purchased for matches at White Hart Lane in the home end are for Spurs fans only, as per our terms and conditions, and this also applies to all tickets sold through Stubhub. Anyone found to be supporting the visiting team faces being refused entry or ejected from the stadium.
“As with all supporter related activity, we continue to monitor the activity on the Stubhub facility and, in conjunction with Stubhub, are reviewing the current system.”
Here is the list of the Haringey Independent's 13 questions regarding Spurs' agreement with StubHub.
The questions are listed below and range from why the club axed the ticket-exchange facility to why it is ignoring the concerns raised by fans:
1. Many fans have complained about Tottenham Hotspur Football Club’s current arrangement with StubHub yet the club appears to be largely ignoring their views. Does the club agree with this statement?
2. Why did the club axe the largely successful and fan-friendly ticket exchange facility?
3. Many fans state they believe the club opted for StubHub due to commercial reasons. Is this true and if so can you state how much the deal is worth to the football club?
4. Other than the upfront fee received, is the club paid any further amount at all from the resale of tickets through StubHub?
5. Does the club think it is fair for supporters to pay a percentage of the initial ticket sale and subsequent purchase to StubHub thus increasing the ticket price paid by fans?
6. Evidence from the Tottenham Hotspur Supporters Trust shows that 91 per cent of tickets are being sold above face value on Stub Hub. Two category A games (Chelsea and West Ham) sold at an average price of 135 per cent and 53 per cent above face value respectively. Is the club concerned by these figures?
7. Is the club also concerned that more than 50 tickets remain on sale for the Arsenal game priced at £500 or above?
8. Many fans have claimed that people purchasing StubHub tickets are not Spurs fans. In particular, complaints were made after the Liverpool and Man City games that opposition fans were sitting in areas designated for home fans only? Does this concern the club? Can the club confirm if any fans purchasing tickets via StubHub have been ejected or moved to the away section?
9. Has the club made any special arrangements to ensure this does not happen during the Arsenal game?
10. In 2005 the club launched a very effective ‘Out the Tout’ campaign. The club stated that it was: “stepping up its campaign to ensure that as many tickets as possible end up in the hands of genuine supporters. We are well aware that tickets for "sold-out" matches are still finding their way in to the hands of ticketing organisations and that our tickets are being widely advertised in the press at exorbitant prices. Rest assured, we do not - and will not - turn a blind eye to this practice.” Does the club agree that it appears to be turning a blind eye to the ‘exorbitant prices’ being charged on StubHub?
11. Will the club consider setting a ‘price ceiling’ for Spurs season ticket holders using StubHub?
12. Will the club consider setting a limit throughout the season for the number of times a season ticket holder is allowed to make their seat available on StubHub?
13. During the Out the Tout campaign the club stated: “Touts prevent true supporters from attending games unless they are prepared to pay outrageous prices. Touts don't care for the Club or our supporters. Touts are unscrupulous and will sell tickets to anyone who is prepared to pay their price - even away supporters. This is unfair to our loyal fans and can easily result in crowd trouble.” Would the club agree that this statement could be a fair reflection on how fans currently feel about purchasing tickets through StubHub? If not, could the club state how it believes StubHub is different?