Manchester City are on course to secure a rare treble in English football after being crowned Premier League champions at the weekend.
Pep Guardiola’s side are hoping to emulate Manchester United’s 1999 success, which saw them win the Premier League, FA Cup and Champions League in the same season. City wrapped up the domestic title after second-placed Arsenal lost 1-0 to Nottingham Forest on Saturday (20 May).
They will take on Man Utd in the FA Cup final at Wembley on 3 June before heading to Istanbul for the Champions League final a week later. They will face Serie A giants Inter Milan on 10 June.
Any Cityzens hoping to make it to either game will face stiff competition for tickets. The FA Cup final allocation for City’s fans is 30,500 while just short of 20,000 tickets will be available for the Champions League clash - although many of these will go to club staff, players’ families and the club’s directors and its owner. It means some people are likely to seek out alternative means to get hold of a ticket, which could open them up to being scammed.
So, if you’re a Man City fan with dreams of being in Istanbul to witness the treble, how can you avoid ticket fraud?
How can you get Champions League Final tickets?
Official Champions League final tickets have been made available in three different ways. A lottery that allowed fans to apply for tickets in the hope their club made it to the final closed on 28 April.
Major football sponsors are likely to have access to tickets, and may offer their employees the chance to attend. But the most realistic way of getting to Istanbul is to go through the Man City website.
To be in with a shout of getting tickets, you have to be a season ticket holder and part of the club’s UEFA Cup Scheme, the members of which have been given priority access. The club has given all season ticket holders wanting to go to Turkey an access code to the UEFA ticketing site, which will allow them to access the ticket sale (the date for which has not been made public, but fans will be informed in advance).
If tickets are left over after season ticket holders have had access to them (an unlikely eventuality), Man City says Cityzens Matchday Members will then get access. But the chances are that you may have to content yourself with watching the game on TV.
How much are Champions League final tickets?
According to Manchester City’s website, tickets are priced in four different categories. These are:
- Category 1: £599
- Category 2: £425
- Category 3: £156
- Category 4: £61
Wheelchair users will have access to 79 bays inside the stadium with prices set at £61. These fans will be able to bring a companion with them for free.
How can you avoid ticket fraud?
On its website, Man City advises fans that buying tickets from an unauthorised source (i.e. outside of club or UEFA channels) means they will run the risk of not being able to get into the game and losing the money they have paid for them. The club warns tickets sold by touts are likely to be void and could see you get removed from the stadium.
Only buying tickets from an official source is one of the five key tips City of London Police’s UK-wide anti-scams squad Action Fraud has provided as part of its summer campaign to protect fans from scammers. The other four are:
- Don’t pay for tickets via bank transfer, especially if you’re buying them off someone you don’t know. If you’re confident the tickets aren’t counterfeit, you should use a credit card or a digital payment service like PayPal, as these may let you get your money back if you’re defrauded.
- Ensure you have different passwords set on your different accounts. For example, your personal email password should not be the same as the one you use for your football club’s ticketing site. Action Fraud recommends using three random words to create a strong, memorable password, and to activate two-step verification on all of your accounts.
- Watch out for unsolicited emails, texts or adverts offering ticket deals that seem to be too good to be true. These could be from a phishing or smishing scam.
- If you’re buying tickets from an official-seeming company, check whether they are a member of the Society of Ticket Agents and Retailers (STAR). If they are, the firm has signed up to a strict set of standards and you can make a claim against them through STAR’s Alternative Dispute Resolution service should your tickets prove to be fake.
Payment services provider Takepayments has also released advice ahead of the coming weeks’ footballing action. It has urged people to look out for Strong Customer Authentication compliance - a sign that a ticketing website is legitimate and secure. Websites operating this sort of system will ask for two levels of authorisation when you make a purchase - for example, they may ask for a one-time passcode (OTP) or for you to go into your banking app to confirm a payment.