FIFA obtains preliminary injunction against viagogo
The Hamburg District Court has issued a preliminary injunction against Switzerland-based viagogo AG, banning the company from offering tickets for the 2018 FIFA World Cup Russia™ via its viagogo.de online ticket marketplace prior to FIFA officially allocating such tickets and/or to viagogo AG physically possessing them. Any violation of the injunction by the company would be punishable by a fine of up to EUR 250,000 or imprisonment for up to six months.
The court held that viagogo AG was leading potential ticket buyers to believe that it had valid and deliverable tickets for the 2018 FIFA World Cup, although this was not the case. The court deemed this behaviour to be misleading and in violation of the German Unfair Competition Act (UWG). It also found that offering (overpriced) tickets that were not yet available constituted a “deliberate obstruction” to FIFA with regard to its ticket sales.
FIFA greatly welcomes the decision of the Hamburg District Court with this preliminary injunction, which will protect fans against viagogo AG’s misleading campaign and help prevent them from buying overpriced tickets on the secondary market. At the same time, it will help safeguard FIFA’s fair-price ticket and distribution system for the 2018 FIFA World Cup. Before April 2018, when FIFA will start to distribute physical tickets to fans, sellers in the secondary market will possibly not be able to guarantee the delivery of tickets, since they will not have them in their possession. Fans purchasing from unauthorised sources will therefore run the risk of not receiving the tickets that they ordered and paid for.
2018 FIFA World Cup tickets are exclusively available for purchase at FIFA.com/tickets. In addition, MATCH Hospitality AG and its authorised sales agents offer ticket-inclusive hospitality packages at hospitality.fifa.com/hospitality2018. No other websites or parties may legitimately sell tickets for the tournament. FIFA regards the illicit sale and distribution of tickets as a serious issue and views the security implications of the unauthorised transfer and/or resale of tickets as being of paramount importance. In light of the above, we encourage fans not to purchase tickets from unauthorised platforms/sellers.
FIFA is entitled to void any ticket purchased via unauthorised distribution channels, including all tickets purchased through viagogo AG. During the 2018 FIFA World Cup Russia, FIFA and local authorities will conduct strict admission checks.