(photo credit: Courtesy)
KAN instructed ticket sales site Leaan to halt the sale of Eurovision tickets on Sunday, following reports of irregularities.
The announcement came shortly after Public Security Minister Gilad Erdan announced that he had instructed Israel Police to investigate the scalping of Eurovision tickets.
KAN said Sunday that it was pausing sales “until further notice.” The Israeli public broadcaster said it made its decision after officials “raised suspicions of irregularities and defects in the sale process carried out by Leaan.”
KAN said its supervisors “identified an attempt by various parties to intervene in the sale process,” and also found that hundreds of tickets in the best seats were sold to media and sporting personalities and not the general public, “in direct contradiction to KAN’s instructions.”
Within 15 minutes of KAN’s announcement, the tickets were pulled from Leaan’s website. A spokesman for Leaan told Ynet on Sunday that it operated according to KAN’s guidelines.
“By request of KAN, we saved a number of tickets for their guests,” Leaan said. “Ticket sales were carried out exactly according to KAN’s instructions and with a KAN representative present. Leaan did not make any decisions itself and merely provided technical services for ticket sales.”
According to Ynet, preferential treatment was given to a list of famous names in Israel, including Eurovision hosts Erez Tal and Assi Azar.
Later Sunday evening, KAN said it had discovered the irregularities carried out by Leaan: “The matter is under investigation, and we recommend waiting for the results, and the truth that will soon come to light.”
Earlier Sunday, Erdan said he instructed police on Saturday to tackle the issue of ticket scalping in the Eurovision.
“Extorting the public and exploitation through ticket scalping is a disgusting and illegal phenomenon,” Erdan said. “It cannot be that a historic and joyful event that is expected to be a worldwide celebration will be used by criminals to besmirch the face of the State of Israel. I instructed the police to act against scalping by all means available to them.”Tickets to the Eurovision went on sale on Thursday evening
, and within hours the first round of seats for the grand finale in Tel Aviv on May 18 were sold out. Erdan said Sunday that he had received reports of tickets being sold on resale sites and via Facebook for up to 2.5 times their face value.
Tickets to the finale ranged in price from NIS 1,150-1,700, and seats in the “VIP green room,” which cost NIS 2,000, were still available Sunday.
KAN said that a second round of tickets for all of the shows will be made available in April. Before sales were halted, hundreds of tickets for the two live semi-final shows, as well as for the rehearsals for all three shows were still available.
Before Erdan’s announcement, the Movement for Quality Government in Israel called on police on Sunday to investigate Eurovision ticket scalping. In a letter to acting police chief Moti Cohen, MQG said emerging reports indicate that “a criminal investigation is necessary that will pursue those who are seeking to make an illegal financial profit on the backs of those who wish to take part in Eurovision events.”
The NGO added that “the phenomenon of tickets scalping to cultural events is an ugly one, that should be eradicated from the world, especially concerning an international event that places the State of Israel in full view of Europe and the entire world.”
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