Via no-go: Reselling firm refuses calls from MPs to give evidence in secondary ticketing crackdown

 
Oliver Gill
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See Tickets' Rob Wilmshurst (left), a rival of Viagogo, sat next to the empty seat reserved for Viagogo (Source: Parliament.tv)

MPs were left disappointed after ticket resale firm Viagogo snubbed their request for evidence at an influential parliamentary committee.

The department for culture, media and sport (DCMS) committee was considering evidence as part concerns raised about certain practices in the secondary ticketing industry.

Firms such as Viagogo have been at the centre of reports that ticket touts use them to make vast profits. The touts allegedly buy up large numbers of tickets for popular sporting and music events immediately after they go on sale. They then use secondary ticketing websites to sell the tickets for more than face value.

Read more: Increase in late ticket purchases for live sport events

DCMS select committee chair Damian Collins opened the day's proceedings by saying he was unimpressed by Viagogo's failure to send a representative after previously being called upon to provide oral evidence.

“It is considerable disappointment to us that Viagogo have decided not to send a representative," he said.

Despite the fact they have a substantial office in Cannon Street, they do not believe they have adequate representation in the UK in order to assist the committee with their enquiries.

While some MPs have argued otherwise, it is not against the law to decline an invitation to attend a select committee hearing.

Empty-chaired

However, it is highly unusual for a company to be "empty-chaired".

It is not against the law to decline an invitation to attend a select committee hearing, although some MPs believe it should be.

The issue most recently came to light when Sports Direct boss Mike Ashley said he would not appear before MPs last year. Ashley, however, changed his mind and turned up in person as requested.

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Founded in London but headquartered in Geneva, Viagogo is backed by start-up fund private equity manager Index Ventures. The manager includes firms such as Sonos, Dropbox and Justeat in its credentials.

A number of high profile sporting organisations have entered into partnerships with Viagogo. These include football club Manchester City and the tennis' ATP World Tour Finals.

Viagogo and Index Ventures have not responded to requests for comment.

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