MELBOURNE, Oct 26 (Reuters) Thousands of Ashes tickets, some confiscated from illegal scalpers, are to be resold to a select group of Australian cricket supporters today, Cricket Australia (CA) said.
The resale of over 34,000 tickets for the five tests against England will be restricted to two per member of Australia's Cricket Family (ACF), a scheme devised by CA to prevent English fans from hogging sales.
The vast majority of the newly available tickets were returned from the likes of stakeholders such as the England and Wales Cricket Board, sponsors, broadcasters and the Australian state bodies, CA said.
But between 200 and 300 had become available again after touts had been caught trying to resell the tickets through unauthorised means.
''Some are from scalpers caught as part of our investigation into secondary market activity, it's a small percentage of the total,'' CA spokesman Adam Vincenzini told Reuters.
He added that the ACF's 125,000 members would be emailed with details of the extra tickets later on Thursday and it was expected they would sell out in a matter of hours.
SECOND CHANCE Among the new tickets are around 17,700 for day four of the Boxing Day test match at the Melbourne Cricket Ground as well as between 900 and 1,500 tickets for each of the opening four days of the first Test in Brisbane starting on Nov 23.
More than 3,000 tickets will be made available for the possibly decisive fifth test in Sydney.
CA chief executive James Sutherland said he was delighted that loyal Australian fans would have the chance to see their team try and regain the Ashes from England.
''The Australian Cricket Family ensures members have the best opportunity to see the Australian cricket team in action and this second chance offer is part of our on-going commitment to them,'' he said in a statement.
The reissue will also see 1,000 tickets up for grabs for the only Twenty/20 match scheduled between the two teams at the Sydney Cricket Ground on Jan 9.
Tickets were snapped up at the unprecedented rate of seven per second when ACF members were given first bite at the cherry in June, and the remaining seats went in minutes when the general public were allowed to purchase two weeks later.
REUTERS PM VV1155