UEFA Warns Over Euro 2012 Ticket Scams

WARSAW, Poland -- UEFA on Thursday warned against buying tickets for Euro 2012 from anywhere but its own website, saying fans risked being ripped off and unable to get into games.

Euro 2012 kicks off in Warsaw on June 8, 2012 and ends in Kiev on July 1, 2012.

With only weeks until tickets go on sale for next year's European championships in Poland and Ukraine, football's continental governing body underscored that uefa.com was the only authorised channel.

"You can only apply for tickets on the official website, UEFA's championships' chief Martin Kallen told reporters in the Polish capital Warsaw.

"There are no other sources. All other sources are in principle illegal," he said.

From March 1-31, fans can sign up for a chance to buy up to four of more than 550,000 tickets available to the general public at Euro 2012.

Demand traditionally far outstrips supply -- 10.4 million people applied for 300,000 tickets at Euro 2008 in Switzerland in Austria -- and UEFA will choose the lucky fans by lottery in April.

"We handle the ticketing from beginning to end," noted Pedro Correia, head of UEFA's ticket operations.

"You'll see a lot of black market websites already. We always try to try take legal action against them. But in the end, people need to understand that they shouldn't go to them, because most likely the sites don't even have tickets, so the customers will buy something that doesn't exist," he added.

Euro 2012 marks UEFA's first major foray behind the former Iron Curtain, where salaries lag far behind those in much of Western Europe, let alone Switzerland and Austria.

The average monthly gross salary in Poland is worth around 800 euros ($1,106), and in Ukraine, just over 200 euros ($276). That compares with the equivalent of 4,000 euros ($5,528) in Switzerland and 2,000 euros ($2,764) in Austria.

UEFA said it had borne that in mind when setting ticket prices, to ensure locals are not shut out.

"We want full stadiums. The minimum we're looking for is 95 percent," said Correia.

"We've taken into consideration local elements like purchasing power, the economic situation and so on," he added.

The cheapest tickets at Euro 2008 cost 45 euros ($62), and although UEFA is yet to announce the 2012 prices, it said the lowest level was likely to be 30 euros ($42).

At around 600 euros ($829), the cost of high-end tickets is set to be similar to 2008.

The 16-nation football showcase kicks off in Warsaw on June 8, 2012 and ends with the final on July 1 in the Ukrainian capital Kiev.

Source: AFP