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Ticket touts toast Irish rockers

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Rock gods U2 have apologised to fans who were unable to get their hands on early tickets for the band's next tour.

Tickets for the Vertigo/2005 tour went on sale last week - the idea was that U2 fans would get first chance to buy them. This didn't happen. An open letter from U2's drummer Larry Mullen says: "There was a mess up in the way the tickets were distributed through U2.com for the Vertigo pre-sale. Some of it was beyond our control, but some of it wasn't."

Mullen said the band is trying to find a fairer way to distribute tickets for US dates in the autumn.

The band hoped to give genuine fans first access to tickets. Subscribers to u2.com were sent a six figure security code which should have given them the chance to buy up to four tickets before they went on general sale. But ticket touts managed to crack the system and tickets are already appearing for sale on eBay and elsewhere.

U2.com subscribers who failed to get tickets have been offered a refund on their joining fee.

Mullen's letter continues: "The idea that our long-time U2 fans and scalpers competed for U2 tickets through our own web site is appalling to me. I want to apologise to you who have suffered that."

The letter ends: "By the way, a note to those so-called U2 fans who are quick to accuse U2 of unseemly behaviour, I've only got two words for you...

What those words are the letter does not reveal...

Read the letter at U2.com. ®

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