The Welsh Rugby Union today announced that Events International Limited have been appointed as its sole Official Off-Site Hospitality Operator.

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To ensure that money is kept within and re-invested in the national sport of Wales the WRU is now regulating hospitality providers and will, for the first time, permit its member clubs to distribute international match tickets to the Official Off-Site Hospitality Operator at above face value. This programme will be in place from the Wales v England match on 4 February 2011 and has been well received by member clubs throughout Wales.

The aims of this programme include the desire to reduce public safety risks caused by the availability of tickets on a “black market”, improving the hospitality market for WRU controlled matches in order to raise quality standards, increasing consumer protection and minimising confusion within the hospitality market between hospitality agents and the WRU.

Fans are being urged to check the providers of their hospitality packages, as official packages can only be supplied by Events International or The Welsh Rugby Union. Any fans who have purchased ‘unofficial’ hospitality tickets for the RBS 6 Nations matches, may be refused entry to the Millennium Stadium, as their match ticket will have been obtained in breach of the WRU’s ticketing terms and conditions.

Enforcement teams will be present at turn-styles on match-day checking tickets and passes to ensure they have come from official sources and will turn away ticket holders who have purchased through unofficial hospitality operators.

If fans are in any doubt they should email with details of the hospitality package they have bought Рalthough no promises can be made, fans who have purchased unofficial hospitality packages may be able to make alternative arrangements.

The WRU Group Sales and Marketing Manager, Craig Maxwell, said: “This move regulates the hospitality market and safeguards our supporters in a commercial arena which has not been controlled in the past.

“It will clear up any confusion for supporters who want to know that the hospitality package they buy is genuine and will get them into the Millennium Stadium.

“There has always been a temptation for third party individuals or organisations to cash in on the potential value of a ticket and this new strategy will seek to eradicate such activity

“Our clubs will be able to increase revenue by selling on spare tickets to Official Off-Site Hospitality Operator, Events International, but they will now do that in the knowledge that the supporter at the end of the chain is protected.

“We will be vigorous in our attempts to check and police this system so it is vitally important that supporters and organisations purchase their hospitality packages from official sources. This will help stamp out unofficial operators and ensure that all money generated will be put back into the game in Wales and ensures that the WRU’s official partner Event international are observing operational and commercial protocols. Under the plan, anyone who purchases an unofficial hospitality package could discover that their match ticket is invalidated and they will be refused entry to the ground, as the ticket would have been purchased in breach of WRU’s terms and conditions.”

Events International was appointed by the WRU following a tender process which invited relevant organisations to tender for the position of official off-site hospitality operators.

The WRU Group Finance Director, Steve Phillips, said: “This is all about protecting consumers and improving the quality of the hospitality market for supporters who attend international games at the Millennium Stadium.

“The RFU has operated a similar model and we are now falling in line with the level of protection consumers expect to receive.

“The WRU exists to sustain and develop Welsh rugby so it is vital in these economic times that all our financial safeguards serve to protect our income levels, the quality of service we offer and our re-investment in the game.”

Events International Limited Managing Director, Paul Terry, added, “We are delighted to have been appointed as the WRU’s only official off-site hospitality operator and look forward to a long and fruitful relationship and are proud to say it is one that has been established in the best interests of Welsh rugby.”