Woe to those who run afoul of the Russian authorities at this summer’s FIFA World Cup, as something as harmless as re-selling a ticket to the world’s most popular sporting event could lead to fines as heavy as $37,000, according to a recent post by RadioAustralia.
“Security around stadiums on mach days will be ‘off the scale’ with ‘thousands of officers in riot gear, supported by the army,’” according to Gold Commander Chief Constable Mark Roberts, who is in charge of the safety of English visitors to the country. Scalping is being closely managed by FIFA and the event organizers, who have taken a number of steps to harshly restrict the rights of individuals to move tickets they purchased for the event.
Those who hold tickets are only authorized to transfer tickets to other “guests” or use the official resale platform, which caps the sale price at the original face value. All other transfer is against FIFA regulations unless authorized by the notoriously prone to corruption organization in writing. Resale through the official channel is essentially a surrender at loss for the original purchaser, as they are liable for penalties should they use any market value resale platform, and the official platform is capped at face value, less a fee charged the original seller. The full transfer and resale policy is available here.
The threat of fines at around what an average person makes a year in the U.S. don’t seem to be that large of a deterrent for some operators in the secondary market, it seems. StubHub’s, Viagogo, and other definitively non-FIFA outlets are currently flogging tickets. StubHub even has a link for assistance with the acquisition of a FanID, a required document to pair with one’s tickets in order to travel freely throughout the country and enter the stadiums on game days.
More likely to get into serious trouble are anyone found to be doing thing traditionally associated with massive football events – drinking and acting foolish. According to Roberts, the draconian penalties expected to be enforced at the World Cup aren’t just related to selling tickets that FIFA doesn’t get the only cut of. Disorderly conduct could lead to up to 15 days in prison. Behavior categorized as “mass disorder” such as rioting, or assaulting a police officer could lead to over a decade of prison time. Even flag waving or “provacative behaviour like comments or actions referring to Russia’s military past [are] likely to be viewed very dimly,” per the article.
“You wouldn’t want to be in a Russian prison, described as a football hooligan,” he said, in what me be the understatement of the year.