Back when tickets first came available for the Commonwealth Games, I didn’t really need to look through the programme to see if what I might fancy, there was only one choice: The Rugby Sevens. But now I’m stuck with tickets in a sold-out section, because I can’t get a refund and it’s illegal to advertise for sale. Even at face value.
The reasoning for initially picking the Sevens was easy. Discounting say France, Japan and Argentina, the countries in the Commonwealth are pretty much the best in the world when it comes to sevens, and the matches are all in Cov.
So when the priority ballot came along last year I applied for the finals day on the 31st of August, both the morning and afternoon sessions. The thinking was I might go to earlier days too, but get the tickets for the finals before they sell out. I got nothing. So when the second ballot happened, both me and my sister applied to double our chances. While we only got one set of tickets for the medals matches in the afternoon, we both ‘won’ the ballot for the semis in the morning, four tickets each at £22 a go.
Now not to worry about that, because Birmingham 2022 were going to open a resale programme. This is what they said back when they confirmed the ticket allocation back in October “This platform will allow you to sell any tickets for sessions you can no longer attend and make sure your tickets are going into the hands of fellow fans.”
Of course by the time I got the email saying my tickets were now available, nine months later on July 19th this year, the resale window had both opened and closed. The opportunity to resell via Birmingham 2022 only ran from the 31st of May to the 4th of July, so it closed not only a month before the games started but also a fortnight before we actually had been sent the details of our tickets. Now there is page on their website entitled “Why can I no longer resell my tickets?” which says you can’t resell tickets, but completely fails to answer that ‘why’ bit.
In the case of myself and my sister where we had two sets of tickets for the same match, knowing which ones were the better seats would of course be a factor in which ones we’d sell. As it turned out, there’s no real difference so it didn’t matter in the end. The same way there is no real difference between our £22 tickets and the one the games organisers are still flogging for £55 in the CBS Arena, a ground that normally charges the same price for tickets wherever you sit.
Now you might be wondering why I don’t just stick them on one of the many ticket reselling websites. Or maybe just eBay or even Facebook.
The answer is that this is illegal. Part of the legislation passed around the 2022 Commonwealth Games is a law that specifically makes it illegal for anyone other than the games organisers to advertise a ticket for the games. To do so means you’re a ‘tout’- but this is a definition that doesn’t care about the price, so advertising a ticket for sale or even ‘exposing a ticket for sale’ (whatever the hell that means) is illegal, even if you’re selling for face value because all you want is your money back.
But as that totally useless webpage states; “Not to worry, you will be able to transfer the unusable tickets to a friend or family member through your ticketing account.”, which given the fact everyone I know who I thought might be interested either isn’t or is already going is super, super useful.
The most bonkers thing about the whole thing though seems to be that, under Section 10(4) of the Birmingham Commonwealth Games Act 2020, it is not an offence if someone says that they reckon they know someone who might have some tickets available to buy. Not ‘for sale’, but ‘available to buy’! Because obviously those are two very different things.
The one thing I do know, is that while Birmingham 2022 are not interesting in having my £22 tickets back, all of the £22 tickets are sold out for the semi-finals on Sunday morning, but they have got plenty of £55 ones for the same session in a normally single-price stadium which they can’t shift…..