Chelsea FC has announced it is cutting ties with ticketing provider Viagogo as the club looks to launch its own in-house service.
The new Chelsea FC Official Ticket Exchange will be a "safe, legal and simple way for a season ticket holder not attending a fixture for any reason to pass the seat to another fan and recover the cost," the club said in a blog post announcing the move.
Under the new system, which will go live in August in time for the start of the 2014/15 season, club members and season ticket holders will be able to sell off their seat for a particular game, whilst also allowing them a straightforward method to purchase additional seats.
Tickets can be sold on from 42 days before the necessary fixture, and will not incur any additional charges except a £1.50 booking fee, with the service is free to use for all season ticket holders. This is in contrast to the old system where a deduction was made from the sum the season ticket holder received back as a charge for using their service.
The move ends a nine-year relationship between Chelsea and Viagogo, over which time the club has grown into a Premier League and Champions League winner, as well as seeing a major increase in revenues.
However fans had grown uncomfortable with using the website, which often posted tickets at many times face value, particularly for matches played overseas or in the latter stages of cup competitions, which often traded at many times their face value.
The club's London rivals Arsenal announced a similar move in 2008, which it said allowed it greater control over prices and ensuring fans got to see as many games as possible. Despite Chelsea's move, Viagogo continues to hold partnerships with other Premier League teams including Aston Villa, Manchester City and Fulham.
The cheapest Chelsea adult season ticket for the 19 home games in the 2014/15 season costs £595 in the East Lower Family Centre, with the priciest costing £1,250 in the club's West Upper section.
"The aim of this scheme is to ensure as many of our fans can attend a match as possible and for every seat at Stamford Bridge to be occupied. It most definitely is not to generate additional money for the club on top of our regular season ticket and individual match ticket sales," said Chelsea.
The club added that all extra money raised by season ticket seats being sold on will be donated to the Chelsea FC Foundation, the club's charity organisation which uses sport-related activities to foster community change, and raised over £5m last year.
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