Stolen and sold: Private details of thousands of World Cup fans

Jason Lewis reports on the FIFA breach that was mentioned on this site last month (here).

The personal details of thousands of football fans who bought World Cup tickets from official FIFA outlets have been stolen and sold for up to £500,000.


The data breach first emerged in Scandinavia where the details of 50,000 Swedish and Norwegian fans were offered for sale. Among the details were those of former Swedish Prime Minister Ingvar Carlsson and former Minister of Integration Jens Orback.

Mr Orback said: ‘I don’t like this at all. As a former government minister, this is also a security issue.’
But it quickly emerged that the data breach was far more widespread and included the details of nearly 20,000 American citizens, 36,000 Swiss nationals, 42,000 Portuguese and 36,000 Dutch fans, as well as thousands more supporters from Poland, Italy, Germany, France, Spain and Croatia.

Read more in the Daily Mail.

In related coverage, David Hills and Mark Townsend of the Guardian report:

The authority is looking at claims that a “rogue employee” of Match Hospitality, Fifa’s official ticketing agency, may have sold the information to black market touts who could then get in touch with individuals and offer to buy their tickets before they, in turn, illegally traded the same tickets at big mark-ups.

The Norwegian newspaper Dagbladet reported it had gained possession of the list of 250,000 records, and said it had obtained several emails in which a Match employee offers the lists for sale to a major player on the black market. The newspaper claimed it has confirmed the seller’s identity.

Jaime Byrom, chairman of Match Event Services and Match Hospitality’s biggest shareholder, the Manchester-based Byrom plc, has told Dagbladet that it was not aware that the information had been sold and that it had taken every possible step to prevent the unauthorised sale of tickets.

Don’t worry that Match will lose any contract with FIFA, however. The reporters note:

Match Hospitality, owned in part by a media company run by Philippe Blatter, nephew of the Fifa president, Sepp Blatter, won exclusive rights to sell ticket hospitality packages at the 2010 and 2014 tournaments three years ago. The firm was criticised for over-pricing packages for this summer’s World Cup, resulting in empty seats at most matches in South Africa.

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