As most of you probably know David Bindefeld, a 74-year-old Spurs fan and season ticket holder, was mugged and his ticket for the final stolen and then sold on to a Liverpool fan (football.london).
What is also shocking is that UEFA and the police wouldn’t do anything about it. Why Not? Well, as far as UEFA are concerned the loyal and dedicated fan is a low priority, their priorities are to dignitaries, sponsors and official that promote their name and help them make money. To them, the average fan is just a necessary evil; the clubs are given a token amount of tickets, leaving the dedicated supporters up the creek without a paddle. To UEFA, it is about bureaucracy and not the minor issues of fan loyalty.
Once they’ve sold their tickets and made their money, they basically wash their hands of anything beyond that. As for the Police, it is low priority crime and has nothing to do with them, as usual the victims are either foreigners or low-grade types and no concern to them. In fact, they are more interested in waving their truncheons around like possessed gremlins trying to get some target practice (this is more common in European countries).
Because UEFA wash their hands of what happens to the tickets once they’ve got their money, it becomes excellent news for the Touts and criminals, as it means less hassle from the authorities for them. That is why once you’ve bought your ticket, you must keep hold of them as close and hidden as possible. If not to do so will mean it is you that will have to suffer in silence.
I went to Dortmund away, where a lot of fans were disappointed that they couldn’t get a ticket. But when I went, I was offered an abundance of tickets for that game, and at reasonable prices, from touts and fans selling tickets for that match. The same was for Ajax, in fact, all the away and home events you could get tickets if you wanted to pay over the odds. Where do they get their tickets from if the ordinary dedicated fan can’t? One way is for ‘Loyal’ supporters wishing to make a quick and juicy buck. When I went to Madrid, I was talking to a Liverpool supporter (and the same applies to Tottenham supporters) who had sold his cup Final ticket for many thousands of pounds, which funded his holiday, plane fare and had given him some spending money on top. In another case, a fan sold his cup matches for profit so that it would help pay for his season ticket and continue giving him loyalty points. While other fans wait in the queue for those to drop out so that they might be able one day to be given a chance to go to an away match.
But that doesn’t explain the touts. Where do they get their tickets from? When I collected my ticket from the Spurs ticket office, I was approached by ticket touts offering me many thousands of pounds for my ticket. I chatted with one of them, and they said they had already bought a few that day from fans who preferred money to actually being at the Final.
In the case of UEFA, I blame them as they could do more if they were interested. In the case of the clubs, I don’t blame them. I do know that they do searches and checks, and if they find that any supporters have misused their tickets, then they will take action. But beyond that, they don’t have the authority of the police, they can only do so much.
Every game I go to, home or away, I am almost guaranteed to be approached by touts offering to sell me tickets. And they are so arrogant that they do it in front of the police, who show no enthusiasm or inkling to do anything about it.
To true fans, football is their life, and within reason, they do accept that if they can’t get a ticket, then at least true fans will get it instead, but that isn’t always the case.
The footballing bodies should step in and demand that criminal action is taken against anybody selling tickets.
Not all fans are thugs, or out to make a profit, but they are an essential part of the success of football worldwide, they should be given the same respect and treatment as any other decent citizen is given respect in society and by the law of the land.
Touting and stolen ticket are very rarely an issue in the media or police (other than as a token news-article/ gesture), that just shows you how low the fans has become in the eyes of the authorities. It is about time the fans are given the respect that is due to them, and when issues arise, they are dealt with professionally, courteously and humanely as any other member of the public would be treated.
As for UEFA, FIFA and all the other footballing authorities are concerned; without the fans, you haven’t got anything, and they certainly wouldn’t have the money and authority that empowers them.
As for the advertisers; if the football authorities are tainted and are bad mouthed because of their treatment of the fans, this will trickle down to them and dent their product. They have a responsibility to the purchasers of their product as well. Collectively something can and should be done for the abused and often forgotten followers of Football.
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