The Constitutional Council, with its decision today, ruled that the French Criminal Code, which punishes the regular sale of tickets to sports, cultural or commercial events or to live shows without the organiser’s permission, is in conformity with the Constitution.
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In a decision of 14 December 2018, the Constitutional Council ruled that Article 313-6-2 of the French Criminal Code, which punishes the regular sale of tickets to sports, cultural or commercial events or to live shows without the organiser’s permission, is in conformity with the Constitution.
In an effort to avert the risk of criminal sanctions, the Viagogo companies, whose activities include, in particular, the resale of tickets without the organiser’s permission, had questioned the rule’s constitutionality during a dispute initiated against them by UEFA. The Ticketbis company, which pursues similar activities, had added its name to their request.
The arguments put forward by Viagogo and Ticketbis were rejected by the Constitutional Council, which considered, in particular, that: "by enacting the disputed provisions, the legislator wanted, firstly, to prevent public disorder at certain events, especially sports events. Indeed, the implementation of certain security measures, such as administrative or judicial orders preventing access to such events or control over where spectators are situated, which rely on the possibility to identify ticket purchasers, can be hindered by the resale of tickets. Secondly, the legislator also wanted to ensure that as many people as possible are able to attend sports, cultural and commercial events, and live shows. By making the resale of tickets a criminal offence, it is possible to combat the organised artificial inflation of ticket prices for such events and shows."
The Union of European Football Associations (UEFA), the French Rugby Federation, the National Rugby League, the Groupement d’Intérêt Public France 2023 (Rugby World Cup organising committee), the French Tennis Federation, the Association Nationale des Ligues de Sport Professionnel (national association of professional sports leagues), Première Ligue, the Fédération Internationale de Football Association (FIFA), the Syndicat National du Spectacle Musical et de Variété (national union of musical and variety shows – PRODISS) and the Société des Auteurs, Compositeurs et Editeurs de Musique (society of music writers, composers and publishers – SACEM) welcome this decision.
Speculation on the price of tickets for sports and cultural events, which is facilitated by illegal resale activities, is a major obstacle to organisers’ efforts to widen access to these events.
By disrupting ticket distribution networks, this illegal activity also jeopardises the security and smooth running of the events themselves (supporter segregation in sports venues, enforcement of stadium bans, cancellation or postponement of shows, etc.).
Only if tickets are purchased from the event organiser or an approved reseller is it possible to ensure that tickets are sold at official prices, to guarantee security at sports and cultural events, and to protect consumers from scams associated with counterfeit tickets.
Association Nationale des Ligues de Sport Professionnel (ANLSP)
Fédération Française de Rugby (FFR)
Fédération Française de Tennis (FFT)
Fédération Internationale de Football Association (FIFA)
Ligue Nationale de Rugby (LNR)
Société des Auteurs, Compositeurs et Editeurs de Musique (SACEM)
Syndicat national du spectacle musical et de variété (PRODISS)
Union of European Football Associations (UEFA)