Ticket touts giving Dubs the wrong kind of blues

by Sylvia Pownall
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DIE-HARD Dubs fan Mark Ward has called for a crackdown on ticket touts in the run-up to this Sunday’s All-Ireland Football Final between Dublin and Mayo.
The Clondalkin dad-of-two, who is also a Sinn Fein councillor, wants to see an end to genuine fans being priced out of the market by greedy scalpers.
As a season ticket holder, Cllr Ward – who is backing the Blues with a tattoo running from shoulder to shoulder – will be on Hill 16 on Sunday, but he can’t get tickets for his daughters.
Aibi, 16, and 10-year-old Muirinn will miss the final in Croker because of ticket touting. Both are heavily involved with Round Towers GAA Club, and Muirinn featured on last year’s Late Late Toy Show as the Dubs’ number-one fan.
“My girls follow the Dubs with me all over the country, but they will more than likely miss the greatest game of the season.”
He added: “If you go online today, you will see tickets advertised for anything up to €800. This is wrong. I am hoping that with the spotlight on ticket touting due to events in Rio, that something will be done to address this scandal.”
Cllr Ward said the GAA system of allocating tickets for the final to every club was basically a fair one, but it was open to abuse.
He said: “They give those tickets in good faith to the clubs, who then themselves allocate these tickets to their members in good faith. But somewhere in this process.” tickets end up in the hands of touts.
“I would like to see a system where all tickets are tracked from the GAA to the clubs and the members. I would like to see a task force set up, and for the tickets to be taken out of the hands of touts.”
Last week, it emerged that fans who follow the All Dublin GAA and Hill 16 Army pages on Facebook have been entering fake bids on eBay to drive the prices up to ridiculous levels and thwart touts.
Cllr Ward said: “I’ve been supporting the Dubs all my life, and for me there are three types of supporters, starting with the die-hards who follow Dublin the length and breadth of the country, who stand in the freezing cold and rain in January at an O’Byrne Cup game.
“Then you have the championship fans, who follow Dublin faithfully through the campaign.
“And, finally, you have the spectators, who just want to be there for the occasion of the All-Ireland final or semi-final. It is with these spectators – I refuse to call them ‘supporters’ – that the problem lies.
“Those of us who stand on the Hill have our own spot where we stand religiously throughout the season.
“I know when I look around on Sunday that many of those spots will be filled by spectators, and that the genuine supporters will be at home watching the game on television.”

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