I heard Lord Coe, Chairman of the London 2012 Olympic organising committee, on the BBC Radio 4 Today programme this morning. He was talking about how there is going to be a crackdown on people seeking to resell 2012 Olympic tickets, which he described as a criminal offence.
I wondered what made it a criminal offence.
The answer appears to be section 31 of the London Olympic Games and Paralympic Games Act 2006. The key provision is as follows:
“(1)A person commits an offence if he sells an Olympic ticketâ€”
(a) in a public place or in the course of a business, and
(b) otherwise than in accordance with a written authorisation issued by the London Organising Committee.
(2) For the purposes of subsection (1)â€”
(a) â€œOlympic ticketâ€ means anything which is or purports to be a ticket for one or more London Olympic events,
(b) a reference to selling a ticket includes a reference toâ€”
(i) offering to sell a ticket,
(ii) exposing a ticket for sale,
(iii) advertising that a ticket is available for purchase, and
(iv) giving, or offering to give, a ticket to a person who pays or agrees to pay for some other goods or services, and
(c) a person shall (without prejudice to the generality of subsection (1)(a)) be treated as acting in the course of a business if he does anything as a result of which he makes a profit or aims to make a profit”.
The maximum penalty is a Â£20,000 fine.
The legislation is based on section 166 of the Criminal Justice and Public Order Act 1994, which made it a criminal offence for an unauthorised person to resell tickets for designated football matches (i.e. Football League; Premier League; European (UEFA); and international matches played at major grounds).