Police Investigate World Cup Ticket Scandal, Claim FIFA Official Was Involved
Brazilian police "have arrested 11 people on charges of illegally reselling tickets to World Cup matches, and police allege that the source of the tickets is a senior official at FIFA," according to Jordan & Connors of the WALL STREET JOURNAL. Rio de Janeiro police officials "didn't name the FIFA official and said they are still working to determine his identity." FIFA said that it is "cooperating with the investigation." Police said that the accused "obtained tickets meant for sponsors, nongovernmental organizations and national teams." The tickets "were then illegally resold for several times their face value." Police estimate that the accused "netted" about $100M from selling the tickets. Those arrested by the Rio police "include Mohamadou Lamine Fofana, an Algerian national who the police say had direct access to FIFA officials with tickets." Rio Police investigator Vincente Barroso said that the department is seeking cooperation from Zurich-based Match Hospitality AG, which "has the rights to sell ticket and hospitality packages for FIFA matches." Rio Police inspector Renato Pereira said, "The people on the front line have been arrested. The next step in the investigation is to identify who inside FIFA or Match is involved" (WALL STREET JOURNAL, 7/5).
A TANGLED WEB: Investigators said that a "gang of up to 30 people" made more than $815,760 a game at the tournament selling tickets that it received from a FIFA office. FIFA President Sepp Blatter said, "I know nothing" (IRISH TIMES, 7/5). The PA reported Argentine FA President & FIFA VP Julio Grondona's son Humberto "has admitted to selling on tickets to a friend contrary to FIFA's regulations." The tickets "are among those seized by Brazilian police." The disclosure that Grondona's son has been involved is a "huge embarrassment to FIFA -- he has a post as a technical adviser to the world governing body." His father has been a FIFA exec committee member since '88 and is "also chairman of FIFA's powerful finance committee" (PA, 7/5).