Brentford FC revoke more than 300 memberships over ticket touting

Image: Brentford v Liverpool, 17 February; photograph Liz Vercoe

Premier League club sanctions supporters with bans and membership revocation

Brentford FC have announced that they have revoked more than 300 memberships in a bid to tackle the problem of ticket touting at the GTech stadium.

Announcing a crackdown on ticket touting, the Premier League side whose stadium is beside Kew Bridge Station have released a statement that acknowledged the ongoing impact ticketing touting has been having on matchdays, ‘with a number of individuals and organisations claiming to have the ability to sell official Brentford tickets.’

They say during recent fixtures against Manchester United, Brighton and Sheffield United, their operations have led to hundreds of individuals either being ejected, refused entry or blocked.

‘When Brentford faced Liverpool at the Gtech in February this year, we blocked or ejected more than 120 individuals in advance of the game who we either believed purchased tickets from unauthorised sources or were supporting Liverpool in the home area.

‘The majority of these individuals never made it into the stadium having been stopped or blocked before getting to the turnstiles.’

Image: Brentford v Manchester United, 30 March ; photograph Brentford FC

Ticket touting a persistent issue

Regular supporters of the club have told The Chiswick Calendar they are fed up with finding away supporters in their section of the ground when they know friends have not been able to get tickets to watch their home side.

Brentford moved to their current home in 2020, during Covid. They won promotion to the Premier League in May 2021 and have been a top-flight club ever since. Next season will be their fourth consecutive season in the top tier. The stadium holds 17,250 spectators with 1700 given to away teams in the league.

The club say they will continue to ensure that there are severe repercussions for anyone who buys or sells tickets through unauthorised channels. On Brentford FC’s website they say:

“Not only is it illegal to sell, or to offer to sell, tickets to our matches without the club’s authorisation under The Criminal Justice & Public Order Act 1994 but it creates a number of problems for our fans.

“Prices can be vastly inflated, tickets can be counterfeits and transactions can be unregulated. Touting can also result in unfair ticket distribution with official members and genuine Brentford fans losing out. The frustrations, difficulties and financial losses can be felt by fans who have suffered as a result of buying ticket through unauthorised channels.”

Image: Brentford v Sheffield United; photograph Brentford FC

Supporters furious that away fans are in the home section: “It’s a slap in the face for true Brentford fans.”

When I spoke to regular supporters at the ground on Saturday the overwhelming response was one of anger. Samantha Tomkins has been a Bees fan all her life and has been a season ticket holder at the club since the 90s. Her two sons, both in their twenties have had season tickets their whole lives.

She told The Chiswick Calendar:

“I’ve always loved the club. The memories I have are mostly good and I remember standing on a crate in the old Braemar Rd paddock with my friend Donna. Brentford is more than just football. Donna is now the godmother of my two children. I would never have met her if it wasn’t for Brentford.

“The club means everything to me and my boys.”

When I asked Sam about the ticket touting and whether she had come across away supporters where she sits at the GTech, she said:

“All the time. It’s usually the big games like Liverpool and Manchester United, the traditional ‘Big Six.’

“It’s not good enough from the club to allow these supporters in the Brentford end. I’ve made a complaint to the club this season. Manchester United at home when it was clear there were multiple away supporters in the home end.

“I made the complaint to the club and am yet to hear back from them. Collectively fans have had enough.

“I know so many Brentford fans that cannot get tickets for games and then I have someone supporting the other team near me using a ticket. It’s a slap in the face to true Brentford fans.”

I showed Sam the statement the club have made in response to ticket touting and she said:

“It’s a step in the right direction. I understand we have a small stadium and are competing against some of the biggest clubs in the world but it doesn’t mean that away fans can come and go from home areas.”

Image: Brentford v Brighton, 3 April; photograph Liz Vercoe

Club taking steps to stop ticket resellers

Brentford FC has outlined the steps they are taking in regard to ticket touting. They say they are:

‘Monitoring unauthorised reseller websites and capturing necessary information from advertised tickets to identify these on our ticketing system

‘Policing any suspicious booking or sales behaviour, including taking action against those who have purchased tickets with the incorrect tariffs

‘Reviewing actual attendance records at games of any individuals in question

‘Gathering information from fans who have been the victim of touted tickets to identify sellers

‘Reviewing collection processes and carrying out ID checks to ensure genuine Brentford fans are obtaining tickets

Carrying out ‘Post fixture reviews with sanctions being applied accordingly”

The club has a dedicated link for fans who may have been offered tickets by an unofficial seller and that can be found here. They say:

‘All information is treated in the strictest confidence and is never disclosed to third parties. Please aim to do this as soon as you have this information so we can deal with ticket touts quickly and effectively.