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Rugby tickets sale on hold in aftermath of Games debacle

THE sale of 500,000 tickets for the Rugby World Cup is being put on hold for two weeks as a result of the ongoing investigation into the Glasgow 2014 booking system.

POPULAR: There has been a massive demand for tickets to see Games events.
POPULAR: There has been a massive demand for tickets to see Games events.

Tickets for the Rugby World Cup 2015, which were due to go on sale today, will not be available until May 29 to allow Ticketmaster more time to test its system.

It comes as Glasgow 2014 organisers were forced to apologise after it emerged that customers had been charged up to £100 by mistake by the Talk Talk Business phoneline, a supplier of ticketing firm Ticketmaster, while trying to buy tickets for the Games.

People using the premium-rate number were charged even when they got the engaged tone, though it has since been announced that they will be refunded.

A spokesman for Talk Talk Business apologised and said the mistake was the result of a "human programming error". Glasgow 2014 said customers would be refunded any money they had been charged.

Plans to resume Glasgow 2014 tickets sales are to be revealed today amid accusations that the company behind the crisis-hit booking system has damaged the Commonwealth Games' reputation.

Organisers said they "look forward" to outlining plans for the re-launch of ticket website and phoneline, which were suspended on Tuesday night pending the results of a joint investigation by Glasgow 2014 and Ticketmaster into technical problems blighting the booking process.

A statement issued by England Rugby 2015, which is organising the world cup tournament, said: "The live sale date has been moved from Friday, May 16 to May 29 following a request today from Ticketmaster for more time to test the online ticketing system to ensure rugby fans have the best possible experience when booking tickets."

Glasgow 2014 chief executive David Grevemberg said he had held "constructive and positive" talks yesterday with Shona Robison, Cabinet Secretary for the Games.

He added: "We outlined the options and testing required to ensure we can put tickets back on sale with confidence.

"Our priority is ensuring the experience of securing tickets for the Commonwealth Games is a positive one for all our customers and we look forward to sharing our plans on Friday."

Scottish Conservative leader and Glasgow MSP Ruth Davidson said the fiasco was outrageous and threatened to undermine the Games.

She said: "Glasgow's organising committee has done a tremendous job in ensuring the venues and facilities have been completed on time and budget. But with just two months until the event, all that hard work is being undermined by this shambolic ticketing fiasco.

"Tens of thousands of families have spent hours on hold trying in vain to get a ticket, while being charged a fortune for the privilege. The company hired to sell these tickets has been paid handsomely for its work and is now damaging the good reputation of the Games.

"It should have been no surprise that there would have been a high demand for these tickets and you would have expected the ticket operator to have been prepared.

"Alex Salmond must ensure his minister gets to grip with this problem and takes responsibility for getting Ticketmaster to have the phoneline and website fixed by Monday at the latest."

Speaking after her meeting with officials from Glasgow 2014 and the ticketing company yesterday, Ms Robison said: "Ticketmaster chairman Chris Edmonds provided reassurance his company is making every effort to fully investigate and resolve the problems so that when relaunched, the website can cope with the substantial demand.

"All our efforts are focused on getting the site up and running."

Meanwhile, Glasgow City Council confirmed it will fly a rainbow flag over the City Chambers prior to the Commonwealth Games as a symbol of support for diversity and LGBT athletes and communities across the Commonwealth

Councillor Dr Martin Bartos, said: "I'm delighted we achieved a rare symbolic piece of cross party unity."

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