Hong Kong Sevens

Sevens fans warned about tickets on the Net

PUBLISHED : Sunday, 16 December, 2007, 12:00am
UPDATED : Sunday, 16 December, 2007, 12:00am

Hong Kong rugby chiefs have warned fans of the game to steer clear of websites offering tickets for next year's Sevens tournament, and promised legal action to stop such sales.

One website, HongKongSevens Tickets.com, claims it can guarantee tickets to buyers anywhere for the March 28-30 tournament. It is selling three-day tickets for HK$5,200, more than four times their face value, two-day tickets for HK$4,320 and one-day tickets for HK$2,160.

The site looks official, carrying the logo of sponsors Cathay Pacific and Credit Suisse, all the press releases issued by the Hong Kong Rugby Football Union, a history of the tournament and its past winners.

'We can only advise the public not to purchase tickets on these websites,' said Warrick Dent, the union's commercial manager. 'We are seeking legal advice.'

Mr Dent had not been aware of HongKongSevensTickets.com until the Sunday Morning Post, alerted by reader Michael Bentley, brought it to his attention.

'There is more than one site offering tickets,' Mr Dent said. 'This is a problem faced by all major sporting events in the world.'

Mr Bentley said: 'I did a Google search for Hong Kong Sevens tickets and the first result was this website. How can these people offer as many tickets as you want? How can they have got hold of so many tickets and how can they advertise so openly?'

The union would not speculate as to how websites obtained tickets.

'We will have to try to trace these tickets,' Mr Dent said. 'And I would warn the public to take any guarantee of tickets with a pinch of salt.'

Mr Bentley, 52, Hong Kong-born and a long-time supporter of the tournament, said the union should rethink the sale of public tickets, and said the best way would be by ballot.

Only 5,000 were sold to the public, and many fans queued all night eight days ago to buy them.

'I failed to buy a ticket despite turning up at 9am,' Mr Bentley said. 'The system the union used this year was not fair, unless you were young enough to have the stamina to queue up overnight. Now we find that tickets are available, but at a price, on the internet.'