Fifa vice-president escapes action over ticket scandal

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The Independent Online

Jack Warner, one of Fifa's most senior and controversial figures, has been reprimanded after being involved in a World Cup ticket scandal - but has escaped any disciplinary action.

Fifa's executive committee expressed their "disapproval" at the behaviour of Warner, a Fifa vice-president from Trinidad & Tobago. Warner was identified in a report by auditors Ernst & Young as having bought World Cup tickets which were then re-sold at up to three times their face value. A Fifa investigation found Warner's son Daryan was involved in the scandal but that there was "no concrete evidence" that the vice-president himself had played an active role.

Sepp Blatter, the Fifa president, said: "The executive committee has expressed its disapproval over the conduct of Mr Warner. This disapproval of the conduct of the vice-president draws his attention to the fact that he should be more prudent and cautious when it comes to ticketing and should also oversee the activities of his son a little more. That is all there is to say in relation to this affair and we now consider the case closed." Blatter said it would be up to the Fifa administration whether the Warner family's Simpaul travel agency would be allowed to sell tickets for future World Cups.

In their report to Fifa which was leaked, Ernst & Young said the tickets were bought in Warner's name and then picked up by Daryan in Germany before they were bought from ticket agency Kick Sports for €400 (£270) apiece - collectively €54,000 (£37,000) more than face value.

Fifa's disciplinary committee also rejected complaints from Warner about the behaviour of the world governing body's general secretary Urs Linsi, Fifa's administration, and Ernst & Young regarding the case.

Warner has been embroiled in similar situations before but under Fifa's statutes only his confederation can remove him - not Blatter and not his fellow executive committee members. As Warner effectively controls CONCACAF, the North and Central American and Caribbean football federation, his position has until now been invulnerable.

In the future, similar scandals may have different results as the new Fifa ethics commission, headed by Lord Sebastian Coe, will be given considerable powers to take action.

Warner escaped censure in March despite Fifa's ruling that he was guilty of a clear conflict of interest when Simpaul secured exclusive rights to sell Trinidad's entire World Cup ticket allocation. Warner told Fifa that he and his wife had sold their shares in Simpaul and had no idea he had violated any rules. In the 1980s and 1990s, Warner obtained Fifa's television rights for the Caribbean for a low price and then controversially sold them on to broadcasters.

* Uefa's executive committee will reconsider Gibraltar's controversial request for Uefa membership this week in the face of opposition from the Spanish FA. The committee had been expected to approve their membership last month but delayed a decision after the Spanish FA submitted new documents.

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