Online Soccer Ticket Seller Faces Charges of Fraud

September 4, 2009

Representatives from Special Ticket, an online ticket sales agency, sold an estimated 1,500 counterfeit tickets to fans hoping to attend tomorrow’s Costa Rica vs. Mexico soccer match, according to the Costa Rican Soccer Federation (FEDEFUTBOL).

Five Special Ticket representatives have been arrested by the Judicial Investigation Police (OIJ) and charged with fraud. The OIJ said the investigation is continuing and more arrests could be made.

The arrests come in the midst of a week of uncertainty for ticketholders, who were told last Wednesday by FEDEFUTBOL that Special Ticket had sold fake tickets. The federation has requested that all ticket holders come to Ricardo Saprissa Stadium in Tibás, north of San José, for their tickets to be inspected.

“The decision to change the tickets has not been a very popular one,” said Eduardo Li Sánchez, president of FEDEFUTBOL, in a news conference Monday. “People don’t understand how they could have been sold fake tickets, and they have lost some confidence in the security of ticket purchases.”

The ticket office at the stadium has been inspecting tickets every day since Aug. 27. However, given the anticipated rush of ticket holders this week, the office extended its hours during the week and will be open until midnight today. Of the 18,000 tickets purchased for the game, at least 466 were found to be counterfeit as of Tuesday afternoon, according to Joseph Ramírez, secretary general of FEDEFUTBOL.

To receive new tickets, fans must present personal identification and their original tickets, which are the color gray. If the tickets are authentic, the ticket holders will receive new pink tickets. Only those with pink tickets may enter the stadium. Unfortunately for those who purchased counterfeit tickets, the game is sold out. “If  someone bought a fake ticket, that person will not be able to enter the stadium,” said Pablo Contreras, a spokesman for the soccer federation. “The game is at full capacity and there are no remaining seats. The counterfeit tickets are being handled by Special Ticket.”

According to the Special Ticket Web site, people who purchased counterfeit tickets will be reimbursed.

Banco Nacional also sold over 3,000 tickets to the game. The bank will be open from 8:30 a.m. to 3:45 p.m. today to reissue tickets on the first floor in the downtown location. The purchaser of the original ticket must present ID and the original ticket.

Kickoff for the match between Costa Rica Mexico will be 8 p.m. at Ricardo Saprissa Stadium on Saturday. The game is a Confederation of North, Central American and Caribbean Association Football (CONCACAF) World Cup Qualifying match and will play a pivotal role in the standings of the six-team group. Costa Rica is currently in first place in the group with 12 points, followed by the U.S. and Honduras with 10 points and Mexico with 9.

–Adam Williams

 

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