Australians uncover WC ticket touts

SYDNEY - At least one unauthorised website is touting tickets to next year's football World Cup in South Africa, Australia's consumer watchdog said yesterday as it warned of potential fraud in online ticketing.

The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) said an international review of thousands of websites, including some 1,400 ostensibly based in Australia, underscored the need for consumer vigilance.

"Results indicate that online ticketing has emerged as an area of concern," commission deputy chairman Peter Kell said.

"In this year's sweep, the ACCC identified an unauthorised site offering tickets for the Fifa World Cup in South Africa at

"The only way consumers can buy a ticket is through the Fifa ticket allocation or from a licensed tour operator authorised to sell tickets on Fifa's behalf as part of a travel package," Kell said.

Football's governing body welcomed the Australian regulator's statement ahead of the World Cup from June 11 to July 11.

"We have a common goal to protect fans from unauthorised ticket touts who are purporting to sell legitimate tickets they do not have," Fifa secretary general Jérôme Valcke said.

Kell said while online ticketing had eliminated the need for ticket-buyers to queue, it had also opened up room for fraudsters to sell entry to events with no guarantee they could deliver.

In 2008, scores of Australians were reportedly caught in a scam believed to have conned people worldwide into buying non-existent tickets for the Beijing Olympics. - AFP