Sport Conventions

Recommendation Rec (2002) 1 on guidelines for ticket sales at international football matches (teams and nations)

The Standing Committee of the European Convention on Spectator Violence and Misbehaviour at Sports Events and in particular at Football Matches, under the terms of Article 9.1.c of the convention,

Having regard to Articles 1.1 and 3.4.c of the convention,

Bearing in mind the Standing Committee's Recommendation No. 1/89 on guidelines for ticket sales;

Bearing in mind the Resolution of the Council of the European Union (6 December 2001) concerning a handbook for international police co-operation and measures to prevent and control violence and disturbances in connection with football matches with an international dimension (Enfopol 128), and more specifically chapter 6 of the handbook;

Considering recent developments in the field of ticketing policy, ticket sales and ticket control, and the experience acquired on the occasion of various international tournaments and at national and international matches;

Considering the increasing number of football matches at international level, and the importance of different countries proceeding in the most consistent possible way as regards ticket sales;

Bearing in mind the need to distribute tickets in as fair, equitable and transparent a manner as possible, within the constraints of necessary security and safety requirements;

Bearing in mind different regulations applying in European countries;

Recognising the responsibility of the organiser of a football match and/or stadium owner as to the safe progress of the match;

In view of the importance of managing a football match with the necessary security arrangements, regardless of whether breaches of the peace are predicted or planned,

Recommend that the Parties to the convention:

1. formulate and implement appropriate measures to give effect to the principles on ticketing policy and sales set out in the attached appendix;

2. transmit this recommendation to the national sports organisations, match organisers, stadium owners, etc.

Instructs the Secretary General to transmit this recommendation to the observers to the convention.


Principles on ticketing policy and sales

A. Ticketing policy should be based on the following requirements:

1. an effective and efficient separation of rival fans;

2. preventing black-market sales and ticket fraud;

3. giving support to the policy of stadium bans;

4. distinguishing the various responsibilities of the different people involved (organisers, other ticket distributors and ticket holders);

5. the identification of fans.

B. The separation of rival fans can be realised by:

1. concentrating the fans of a given team in the same sections and/or stands in the stadium;

2. the physical separation of rival fans;

3. if appropriate, taking measures at the time of sale to avoid the concentration of fans from a third party;

4. requiring applicants for tickets to identify the team they support;

5. where it is deemed necessary, making arrangements for a prescribed percentage of seats per section to be left unsold, so as to tackle possible problems should fans intermingle;

6. if appropriate, including regulations for accepting back tickets from competing teams which cannot distribute all the tickets among their own fans, for resale by the organiser;

7. providing efficient measures to prevent black-market sales and ticket fraud (see below).

C. Preventing black-market sales and ticket fraud may be achieved by:

1. as regards black-market sales:

a. providing a legal mechanism for punishing black-market ticket sales;

b. so far as circumstances permit, not putting tickets on public sale until the identity of the teams participating in a match is known. For group matches in a European championship or world championship, tickets allocated to supporters of the participating teams should only be sold after the draw. Tickets may be sold to the general public before the draw where a system of selling tickets for matches involving only specific teams is in place;

c. match organisers limiting the number of tickets available to any applicant with a view to ensuring optimum security. A maximum of four tickets per applicant per match should be sufficient. A lower number may be decided by the competent authorities and tournaments organisers;

d. preventing the sales of large quantities of tickets by travel organisations and tour operators;

e. always closely monitoring all tickets sales, in particular those via the Internet;

f. for all tickets sold directly to the public, always including the name of the purchaser on the ticket. The names of other user groups, such as sponsors or national associations, should be included on all tickets allocated to such groups on the understanding that the groups concerned would keep detailed records of those to whom the tickets are allocated and make these as soon as possible available to the responsible authorities;

g. ensuring that the distribution of tickets by the organiser and those who are officially designated by them is controlled to a high standard by:

    i. the mandatory keeping up-to-date of the files concerning applications for tickets;
    ii. screening these files according to a number of parameters (alone or in combination) such as identity, address, date of birth and bank account number;
    iii. requiring the purchaser to provide the names of each person for whom he is applying for a ticket;
    iv. organising an efficient information exchange with regard to the aforementioned files between the organiser and the police services and/or competent authorities involved, making a joint intervention possible;

2. as regards ticket fraud:

a. in order to guard against criminal abuse, to prevent overcrowding and to ensure that no one can enter the stadium by means of a fraudulent ticket, ensuring that the following measures are taken:

    i. using a series of security techniques in the ticket, such as the choice of paper, the printing techniques, codes, etc.;
    ii. providing the necessary control mechanisms so as to detect fraud, e.g. by briefing the supervising staff on the security techniques, automated admission controls, bar code controls, UV controls, etc.;

3. as regards both black-market sales and ticket fraud:

a. organising ticket sales in such a way that all supporters, regardless of status, are given a fair and equal opportunity to purchase a ticket;

b. providing the general public with the necessary information through the media, a fan guide, etc.;

c. issuing the tickets as late as possible, unless particular circumstances justify that they be issued earlier;

d. arranging prior discussion between all the relevant authorities of the strategies to be adopted in the event, possibly late in the day, of the emergence of false tickets or black market sales.

D. Support measures for the banning policy, insofar as this is permitted by law, could involve:

1. passing on among the different parties concerned, where this is legally possible, the data regarding banned individuals, including those who are the subject of stadium bans;

2. screening the files on banned people, to the extent that this is permitted by law, by the match organiser or the police forces of the country involved;

3. co-operating with the competent authorities over the setting-up, where the technology is readily available, of a technical system based for instance on the use of biometrical data (picture, voice recognition, colour of the eyes, hair colour, fingerprint code), which makes it possible to detect and/or to exclude banned people immediately and positively to the extent that this is permitted by law.

E. Defining the various responsibilities of the different persons involved (organiser, other ticket distributors and ticket holders) could be brought about by:

1. with regard to the authorised ticket distributors:

a. making clear arrangements (whether contractual or not) concerning the distribution of tickets by the various authorised people so that they all operate a single and identical ticket distribution system;

b. cancelling or limiting the supply of tickets to any authorised selling agent who has failed to observe the conditions of sale;

2. with regard to the holder of the ticket:

incorporating in the conditions of sale that tickets are not transferable, unless the issuer has specifically approved this by a specified date. This non-assignability should constitute one of the terms of the contract between the organiser and the applicant for the sale and purchase of a ticket. The transfer of a ticket without approval would constitute and be reported as a breach of the contract. Selective controls, relying on concrete police information, can be used to check whether the ticket has been transferred without approval or not. The non-assignability can be mentioned on the ticket itself and will thus have a dissuasive function. The above mentioned rules on “non-transferable” tickets aim to prevent persons who may pose a threat to public order from entering the stadium.

F. The identification of fans may be achieved by:

1. recording the entitled ticket holder’s name on the ticket;

2. keeping up-to-date lists of ticket holders’ names;

3. linking the names of the ticket holders to a stand, section, row and seat number;

4. creating a ticket supervision system which can be scrutinized directly by the proper parties.