The Hong Kong Rugby Football Union has launched a “marketplace” to buy and sell Sevens tickets in its continuing efforts to protect fans from the black market and combat touts. The union has engaged online marketplace company Viagogo to provide an authorised platform for buying and selling unwanted tickets to the Cathay Pacific/HSBC Hong Kong Sevens next March 27-29, and other international matches and tournaments in Hong Kong. HKRFU chief executive Vern Reid said the Sevens had been heavily oversubscribed for the most of the past 40 years and unscrupulous operators preyed on fans desperate for tickets to the world’s most popular sevens event. “Each year, we identify dozens of risky websites and over one hundred street sellers offering tickets for the Sevens. In some cases, these tickets have been proven to not be genuine, leaving consumers with no recourse. Each year, we identify dozens of risky websites and over one hundred street sellers offering tickets for the Sevens HKRFU chief executive Vern Reid “The HKRFU is partnering with Viagogo in an effort to protect fans from the black market and combat touts, while offering our local and global fan base total peace of mind when buying and selling tickets to the Sevens and other premier international matches in Hong Kong,” Reid said. The union said over 90 per cent of ticket resale for the Sevens had taken place on unauthorised websites or through street sellers, where there is no consumer protection and no recourse for fans holding a fraudulent ticket. Starting this month, ticket holders will be able to resell both full event (all three days) tickets and single day tickets for the Sevens for the first time. The union said this would make more tickets available to the general public, which has been squeezed dramatically in allocation over the years because of huge pressure on tickets. Only 3,000 of the 38,000 tickets sold go to the public – in a ballot. Only originally purchased adult tickets with a printed face value amount on the ticket will be available, thus excluding sponsors and concessionaire tickets from the resale market. The bulk of these tickets up for resale is therefore likely to come from the allocation to the rugby and sports clubs in Hong Kong. Viagogo monitors every transaction and ensures tickets are genuine, with sellers not being paid until the buyer has successfully gained entry to the event. Sellers are incentivised to price tickets competitively. Unrealistic prices will not appear for sale. Last month the union raised tickets prices by 20 per cent – from HK$1,500 to HK$1,800 – blaming soaring operating costs. The increase was the first for three years.