Chelsea have launched a major crackdown on ticket touts, which has already seen one sent to prison.
The club revealed legal action has been taken against 11 touts to stop them trading in tickets for fixtures at Stamford Bridge and from loitering near the ground on match days.
Chelsea said one had received a six-month jail sentence for breaching an order imposed by the High Court and that all 11 had been ordered to pay the club’s costs incurred in putting a stop to their touting – a total of more than £170,000.
They also warned the legal action was part of an ongoing undercover operation that would continue throughout this season.
Chelsea said in a statement: “Ticket touting is known to have links to organised crime. The above action taken against touts operating around Stamford Bridge sends a strong message to others looking to engage in such criminal and anti-social behaviour.
“Chelsea Football Club already employs a series of visible preventative measures on matchdays to protect our supporters from touting, including signage outside the stadium and along the Fulham Road to inform visitors of the risks of purchasing tickets from unofficial sources. We have also agreed the installation of additional signage and matchday messages at Fulham Broadway station.
“The club operates a Ticket Exchange policy which enables season ticket holders and members who cannot attend a match the opportunity to lawfully sell their ticket in a safe, secure and reliable online environment to other season ticket holders and members.
“We remain committed to working alongside the Metropolitan Police and Local Authority to eradicate ticket touting from Stamford Bridge and will continue to operate a comprehensive and long-term operation to combat this problem. We will also continue to work alongside other organisations and venues on anti-touting techniques.
“This football club will not tolerate touting and will continue to identify offenders and take further legal action through the courts to ensure that our club and the surrounding area are safe for our loyal supporters and visitors.
“Individuals found in possession of unlawfully purchased tickets will be refused entry to the stadium or removed from it.
“We welcome information from supporters in our efforts to eradicate this problem – you can contact the club if you have information or are otherwise concerned about ticket touting using [email protected].”