Manchester United Fans Can’t Buy Seats to Ferguson’s Final Match

West Bromwich Albion blocked online ticket orders placed by Manchester United fans for Alex Ferguson’s final game as manager of the Premier League champion.

West Brom took the action to stop away fans from buying tickets online in home areas for the May 19 season finale at the Hawthorns, the club said in a statement. Ferguson, who’s led United to 13 league titles, announced two days ago he will retire at the end of the season.

West Brom said it noticed a spike in orders being placed on website Viagogo, which allows the club’s season ticket holders to sell their seat to another Albion fan, within minutes of the Ferguson’s retirement being announced.

“With Manchester United’s help, we identified that the vast majority of these orders were lodged by United season ticket holders/members,” West Albion said in its statement. “Therefore, we will not be honoring any ticket orders lodged after 8 a.m. on Wednesday, May 8.”

West Brom said the move is in keeping with the Viagogo terms and conditions which state that the club reserves the right not to honor orders from buyers that are suspected of being opposing fans.

“The safety of fans is paramount, which is why we so vehemently uphold the rules regarding the segregation of supporters,” the club said.

West Brom is reminding all fans that tickets should only be sold, assigned or transferred to other Albion supporters with the prior written consent of the club. While it expects most will keep their tickets, the club will monitor all potential sale platforms -- such as EBay Inc. (EBAY) -- where tickets may fall into the “wrong hands.”

“Anyone who sells their ticket for a price greater than face value without the consent of the club is regarded as ticket touting, which is a criminal offense,” the club said in its statement.

To contact the reporter on this story: Bob Bensch in London at bbensch@bloomberg.net.

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Christopher Elser at celser@bloomberg.net.

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