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Tout Exclusion Zone Set Up Around Stamford Bridge

Fri 26th Oct 2012 | Legal

Ticket touts who harass fans on their way to Chelsea’s top of the table Premier League clash with Manchester United will be banned from the Stamford Bridge area.

The UK’s first match day exclusion zone goes live this Sunday and will remain in place until the end of the football season.

Anyone suspected of touting tickets within half-a-mile of Chelsea Football Club’s (CFC) Stamford Bridge home will be ordered to leave and not return for 24 hours. Any tout who returns before that deadline, or is caught selling a ticket, will be arrested.

Hammersmith & Fulham (H&F) Council has teamed up with the Metropolitan Police to introduce the dispersal zone after residents and fans complained about aggressive touts following people along the street.

Chelsea FC’s success in recent years, including winning the Champions League last season, has led touts to try to cash in on the high demand for the biggest games. Desperate fans are often lured into paying over the odds for forged or stolen tickets.

It is common for at least 30 ticket touts to operate around Fulham Broadway and North End Road before a CFC home game and residents have complained about disturbances in the street. 22 of CFC’s 30 home games last season suffered significant problems caused by ticket touts.

Cllr Greg Smith, H&F Council Deputy Leader, said: “Touts prey on fans enthusiasm for their teams by using aggressive and underhand tactics to flog dodgy tickets at vastly inflated prices. We are targeting the touts looking to make a quick buck by introducing Britain’s first dispersal zone around any football ground. Touts caught selling tickets will be arrested. Anyone suspected of touting will be told to leave.

“The message is clear - tout and you are out.”

Touting can lead to a breakdown in the segregation between home and away supporters inside the ground - triggering security problems for stewards and Police. The threat of violence between rival groups of touts attempting to ply their trade also raises fear among law abiding residents.

The zone extends from Lillie Road in the north to New Kings Road in the south and from Munster Road in the west to the borough boundary in the east. It will remain until 28 April, 2013.

H&F is the only borough in Britain with three top-flight football teams (CFC, Fulham and QPR). If the Stamford Bridge zone is successful separate additional zones could be introduced at Craven Cottage and Loftus Road if required.

 

Posted by: Aaron Gourley

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