A disastrous week for Ticketmaster has hit an embarrassing low after it was announced the first round of ticket sales for the England 2015 Rugby World Cup has been postponed due to problems with the online system.
Following the passing of the 500-day-to-go deadline on May 6, the first 500,000 tickets were due to go on sale tomorrow to English rugby clubs on a first-come, first-served basis.
But it emerged this afternoon that Ticketmaster has asked for more time to test a similar ticket system to the one which has proved incapable of dealing with demand for the Glasgow 2014 Commonwealth Games this week.
Sales are now scheduled to open in two weeks' time on May 29, at 1pm British Summer Time.
In a statement, England 2015 explained: "The live sale date has been moved from Friday May 16, following a request today from Ticketmaster for more time to test the online ticketing system they are providing to ensure that rugby fans have the best possible experience when booking tickets."
It added: "The new sale date also gives rugby clubs more time to register their members on the system for the 500,000 tickets available."
It also emerged that many applicants who failed to secure tickets have been billed for phone calls that had not been connected, although a pledge has been made that all money will be reimbursed.
Speaking yesterday, the chairman of Ticketmaster UK, Chris Edmonds, claimed the sales window will reopen "very soon" as an "urgent review" is carried out.
But this is not expected to occur until tomorrow at the earliest.
Ticketmaster also received criticism when responsible for ticket sales ahead of London 2012 and, after people continually complained they could not log on to the website, the process was temporarily suspended on that occasion as well.
All of this is a major blow for a company that claims to be a "market leader in online ticket purchasing in the UK", and casts major doubt into their ability to cope with major sporting events.
Questions must also now be raised as to whether the company will cope when England 2015 tickets go on sale to the general public, a process due to begin on September 12.
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