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Euro 2012 Scalping Continues In Ukraine, Despite Warnings From Authorities

Ukrainian fans cheer at a fan zone ahead of the Euro 2012 match with Sweden in central Lviv.
Ukrainian fans cheer at a fan zone ahead of the Euro 2012 match with Sweden in central Lviv.
KYIV -- Serhiy is an experienced scalper, regularly buying up tickets to all major events in Kyiv.

The Euro 2012 soccer championship has been no exception, and Serhiy has been looking to make a tidy profit.

He's bumped up 700-hryvnya (around $87) second-category tickets for group-stage matches to 1,400 ($175). And the June 24 quarterfinal in Kyiv, where second-category tickets officially sell for 1,500 hryvnyas ($187), he's hoping to get 4,000 ($500):

"My tickets are real, of course. Like everyone else, I bought them officially -- just earlier," Serhiy says to a potential customer. "My name is on them, but that's not a problem. The only thing that matters is that there's a bar code and a hologram."

Soccer officials, including Ukrainian tournament director Markiyan Lubkivskiy, have urged fans to buy from official ticket outlets only, to avoid purchasing counterfeit copies.

Nearly 50 people were turned away from the June 11 match between Ukraine and Sweden at Kyiv's Olympic Stadium because they were holding fake tickets.

Stadium authorities use scanners to check all tickets, which are printed on special paper with a hologram and special code.

Still, not everyone's been scared away from scalpers.

Olena, a student in Kyiv, bought a last-minute ticket from a seller outside the Ukraine-Sweden match.

Not only did she make it inside to see Ukraine's 2-1 victory, she also spent far less than she would have if she had bought a ticket through the proper channels -- just 400 hryvnyas ($50) instead of 700.

"I was really lucky, because when I looked for the same spots on the Internet, people were reselling tickets for 900 hryvnyas, and that was for the third category!" Olena says. "For the second category, the prices were more than 1,000 hryvnyas. Generally I think there'll be the same mix of options for future matches as well."

Translated by Daisy Sindelar