The organisers of Uefa’s Euro 2000 football championships are being accused of adopting “bully boy” tactics by threatening to have arrested fans who obtain match tickets through third-party promotions.
But lawyers claim Uefa is on very weak ground attempting to employ these “bully-boy” tactics.
The Euro 2000 Federation has written to a number of sales promotion agencies saying only official sponsors and hospitality companies have the right to issue tickets. It is threatening to take legal action if the UK promotions agencies do not comply with the conditions of sale of tickets.
The federation claims anyone trying to gain entry using a ticket supplied by a third-party company will not be allowed within three kilometres of the stadia and could be held by the police.
It claims all spectators will be required to show their passport and a matching “named” ticket before being allowed inside the three-kilometre exclusion zone. Many third-party tickets will be unnamed.
But Philip Circus, legal adviser to the Institute of Sales Promotion, says companies should ignore the threats because they are unenforceable.
Circus adds: “Promoters need ‘intestinal fortitude’. If Uefa had a strong case it would have taken court action long ago. But it knows it will struggle to win.”
The federation has also been slammed for threatening to sue companies using the words “Euro 2000” and “European Football Championships” in their advertising and promotions.
It claims that they are protected by a trademark which has been registered for the championships’ logo, which includes the phrase “Euro 2000”.
Iain Mackie, a partner at City law firm Macfarlanes, says: “These phrases are descriptive and, therefore, unlike the logo, are not protectable.” He points out that it is a criminal offence to suggest a name is registered when it is not.