Sean Kelly MEP Slams Overpriced Sports Events

Updated: May 21, 2012

Former GAA President Sean Kelly MEP has spoken out against high costs of tickets, airline and hotel expenses for major International Sporting events.

Addressing attendees at the Killarney Bureau meeting of the European People’s Party, Ireland South MEP, Sean Kelly stressed that EU Tourism policy should protect consumers against unjust price hikes surrounding major sporting events like airfares and hotel costs during the Euro 2012 games.

“With regard to tourism related to large sporting events, we need to keep a watchful eye on unscrupulous travel and accommodation operators who jack up prices to take advantage of travelling supporters – this leaves a sour taste in the mouth of thousands of devoted sports fans,” Mr Kelly said.

Concerns had been voiced ahead of this weekend’s Heineken Cup Final ( airline charges) and the Euro 2012 tournament (exceptionally high hotel costs) . Nearer home, the ‘Irish Independent’ drew attention to an additional 20 percent mark up fee applied by THG Sports Tours Limited a wholly owned subsidiary of the Marcus Evans Group and the Olympic Council of Ireland’s Official ticket agency in respect of the forthcoming Olympic Games in London. The ‘Irish Independent’ reported that ‘the Consumers Association of Ireland (CAI) criticised the high booking surcharge’.

“It’s out of all relation to the costs as these are not exactly a hard sell. I appreciate it’s not the company that sets the charges, but the London Olympics do seem to have imposed unnecessarily high surcharges, given the tickets are already massively expensive,” CAI chief executive Dermot Jewell told ‘The Irish Independent’ though THG Managing Director James Sinton defended the ‘add on’ fees saying that the booking fee was reasonable and pointed out that the Company ‘made a significant contribution to support the Olympic Council of Ireland during the Games’.

“We have to get something for the work involved in selling these tickets,” he concluded.

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