Thursday, October 22, 2020

TURNSTILE ‘FRAUD’ CLAIMS

Premier League teams have been encouraged to come forth and voice their concerns, if any, over the current ticketing system used at the beMobile Premiership League games.

This comes after some teams expressed some misgivings about the currently “on-trial” ticketing system from Webticket.

According to various sources, teams are concerned by, among others, shortage of tickets on match day, lack of credible proof of ticket sales as well as the prices incurred in printing tickets.

Speaking on condition of anonymity, one club official said ever since Webticket was roped in to sell BTC Premiership match tickets, prices of printing have went up from P1.10 per ticket the previous season to P3 per ticket this season.

“Where we paid P6 600 to print at least 1 000 tickets this past season, we now find ourselves having to pay almost three times that amount to print the same number of tickets this year. This therefore decreases the earning power of clubs from the gate takings,” the source explained.

According to the source, while the teams do not directly pay Webticket, they are now feeling they are duped. 

“While they (Webticket) are getting paid by the BPL, we have to take cognisance of the fact that they are being paid from the 20 percent of gate takings each club gives to the BPL. When the clubs initially agreed, it was on the premise that most of the money generated from the 20 percent each team gives to the BPL would be pooled together and then distributed evenly among clubs each month. However, with Webticket now taking the bulk of that money, it seems unlikely clubs will benefit,” the source explained. 

It is also said several clubs have now experienced shortage of tickets at their games, resulting with teams having to resort to the old untrustworthy “cash at the gate” system, which is said to be very unsafe and costly to clubs and other stakeholders as monies disappear and cannot be reconciled.

Another issue of concern among clubs is whether there is any monitoring in place as to the number of tickets sold by Webticket. According to the source, when one team requested proof of tickets sold by the company during their past match, they were only given a manually prepared “spread sheet” instead of a computer generated one. This raised suspicions among teams that stakeholders may find difficult to monitor Webticket.

The concerns were, however, allayed by acting BPL Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Thabo Ntshinogang who said there was nothing to fear about the new ticketing system.

“We have written to the various clubs when the system was started that this is just a trial. We will still sit down and review whether the system offers the solutions we seek and if clubs are happy, only then will they be roped in permanently,” the BPL CEO explained.

He said as such, the onus is on teams to give the BPL some feedback on all the problems they encounter so that when the Webticket system is being reviewed, the BPL will be well informed. 

Ntshinogang implored clubs to fully embrace the Webtickets system and encourage their supporters to use it. He said while ticket printing prices have gone a little high, it is the price that has to be paid for the “kind of service and convenience” that comes with the new solution.

“Yes, we are aware that the ticket printing is now a little higher than the previous season. However, that is what you have to pay to buy the kind of service and convenience we get from the Webticket arrangement,” the acting BPL CEO said. 

“Webticket offers convenience in that tickets will be readily available to supporters at all Spar shops and BTC outlets, making it easy for them to buy at any given time. If fully embraced, it will reduce wastage of papers in the sense that tickets will be printed when bought. This will ensure that only enough tickets are printed and there are no excess tickets remaining, therefore curbing the losses incurred by clubs from returning unsold tickets,” Ntshinogang explained. 

The BPL CEO further said if clubs could use the system, it would be very easy to reconcile the monies generated from ticket sales. “It will be very easy to reconcile as everything will be computerised. Unlike where people stand at the gates and money goes into the hands of people, this system will ensure we can track every ticket sale made and easily reconcile,” he said. 

“Above all, this Webticket system offers the comfort of security for all. Since tickets will not be sold at the gates, there will be no chance of money missing or ticket sale points at the stadium being robbed,” he explained

On the issue of monitoring, Ntshinogang said as the BPL, they can monitor ticket sales done through Webticket. He said when the system is operating optimally, the BPL will have access to the system and be able to see the numbers of tickets sold for each match.

Ntshinogang concluded that as the system is on trial, the BPL is still busy trying to find alternative options should the Webticket system fail. 

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