Making important decisions is not easy for many people. Marry this guy – or would you rather not? Children with this woman: yes or no? Difficult, difficult. The following question is currently worrying some football fans: Should I return my European Championship tickets?
A countdown is ticking on the Uefa website, it says very jovially: “If you have bought tickets but you are no longer able to visit the stadium, you can return your tickets by January 26, 2021 at 2:00 p.m. CET.”
In view of the corona pandemic and other imponderables in Europe, it is a challenging decision to make the choice as early as January whether or not to get rid of your tickets for an event in June.
Urgency came into the matter because a press report excited ticket holders: “Fans won’t get Euro 2020 refunds if games move – unless they act now”: That was the headline of the British newspaper “The Athletic”.
This is what it was about: In the English sales documents for the tickets, a right of return was excluded in the event that the venue should be relocated due to “force majeure” – and Uefa previously declared the tickets valid for the new stadium. The German version of the “Ticket Refund Policy UEFA EURO 2020” also contains the following sentence: “If the venue is changed for reasons of force majeure, no refunds will be made.”
From Bilbao to St. Petersburg
Now it gets confusing. In the “General Terms and Conditions” for ticket sales, point 14 says: In the event of a […] Change of venue […] apply to the refund […] the following guidelines: “Any refunds will only be made to the successful applicant (and not to the ticket holder) and only in the amount of the purchase price paid by the successful applicant for the tickets.”
So a refund after all?
The confusion is great – as is the concern that, despite buying tickets for Bilbao, you would have to travel to St. Petersburg at once if games from the city were to be moved to the other side of the continent due to the high number of corona infections in Spain. Even the European fan association “Football Supporters Europe” became aware of the problem and met with UEFA officials to clarify.
At the request of SPIEGEL, Uefa initially announced that the relevant paragraphs were not new, as some fans had assumed. In addition, the football continental association emphasized that the Uefa would “take into account, for example, reasonable distances from the original venue” in this decision.
Consumer protection authority: “Problem of the organizer”
Now it is worthwhile to discuss the legal situation in Germany. Three group matches and a quarter-finals are planned in Munich, the first one to take place on June 15 (France versus Germany). The Bavarian Consumer Protection Center clearly takes the side of the ticket holder upon request.
»If the venue is relocated, the contract will be fundamentally changed. The venue is an essential part of the contract that cannot be canceled by a clause in the general terms and conditions, “says lawyer Tatjana Halm from the consumer protection center to SPIEGEL:” As a consumer, you have to move the venue – or change the date – The lawyer is also of the opinion that the corona pandemic should not be considered a “force majeure” because it is no longer an “unforeseen event”.
The 50 kilometer mark
Faced with this legal assessment, the Uefa representatives added another explanation: »To provide more information about refunds in this situation: Should a UEFA EURO 2020 match be relocated to a location more than 50 kilometers from the original venue ticket buyers are entitled to a full refund of the ticket price if they cannot or do not want to participate. ”
A statement that makes you suspicious: The shortest distance between two of the planned venues is between Dublin, Ireland, and Glasgow, Scotland. According to Google Maps, it is 392 kilometers. Or is Uefa already planning with completely different venues?