Weak rules mean hooligans could wreck Sir Alex Ferguson’s last game at Manchester United, fears Sunderland MP

MP Sharon Hodgson.
MP Sharon Hodgson.
Have your say

SUNDERLAND MP Sharon Hodgson has voiced fears that ‘unscrupulous’ fans could ruin Sir Alex Ferguson’s last game in charge at Manchester United.

The Washington and Sunderland West MP has been pushing for tougher laws on ticket touts, and recently introduced a failed Bill aimed at better regulating ticket resales.

Ms Hodgson raised the issue again in a debate on the Queen’s Speech, and said Sir Alex’s last match could be one of the events which suffer at the hands of the “murky” ticket resale industry.

She was backed up by fellow Labour MP Stephen Pound, who said he was “furious” her Bill had been talked out, adding that tickets for Sir Alex’s last game were already being sold for £3,000.

Ms Hodgson said: “There is obviously the unfairness, but there is also the fact that there was supposed to be legislation to protect football audiences from unscrupulous fans.

“Nothing stops any of those fans who might be able to get hold of that amount of money going along and ruining an amazing occasion such as the last match that Sir Alex will be in charge of.”

Reselling tickets for football matches is banned, but rules mean clubs can authorise certain companies to do so. Ms Hodgson said she had little confidence in the system.

She said: “What makes me more concerned about the murkiness of this industry is that football tickets are now being sold through those websites, with clubs exploiting their right to authorise resale by saying that the likes of viagogo and StubHub can do that, even though it is actually random season ticket holders who are doing so.

“The resale of football tickets through other channels is understandably banned, due to safety concerns, and many people might think that the resale of football tickets is illegal, because there is supposed to be legislation.

“The purpose of the ban is to ensure that hooligans cannot get their hands on any tickets, and that fans of each team are segregated.

“I certainly do not have any confidence in the websites that are now authorised by the clubs to sell tickets, because their ultimate aim is to make profits and I do not think that they are best placed to uphold the principles with regard to hooligans and segregation.”