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Colombian Football Federation fined $4.6m over World Cup resale scheme

The Colombian Football Federation (FCF) has been fined $4.6m (£3.6m/€4.1m) for illicitly reselling 2018 FIFA World Cup tickets at inflated prices.

The country’s commerce regulator, the Superintendency of Industry and Commerce (SIC), said yesterday (Monday) that fines were also handed to officials with TICKET YA, the FCF’s partner company set up to sell home tickets for Colombia’s games in the qualifiers for the tournament held in Russia in 2018.

The investigation was assisted by Ticketshop, “who confessed its participation in the cartel, acknowledging its responsibility, and provided documents, emails and statements from its officials on the existence and operation of the business cartel.”

Initially, the FCF and Ticketshop rigged the market to restrict the ability of other firms to compete in bidding for the box office. Meanwhile, Ticket Ya would execute the resale after the diversion of tickets by Ticketshop.

The announcement came after a two-year investigation by the country’s watchdog, which found more than 42,000 tickets were sold above face value for eight of Colombia’s nine home games, equating to $3.5m in profit.

According to the evidence from the regulator, Ticket Ya charged 270,000 pesos ($74) for tickets with a face value of 60,000 pesos ($16.40) for Colombia’s home qualifier against Brazil in Barranquilla, inflating the price by 350 per cent.

FCF president Ramon Jesurun and his vice president Alvaro Gonzalez were two of the individuals fined, along with Luis Bedoya, the former head of the federation who resigned and pleaded guilty to corruption charges in the FIFA corruption scandal.

The FCF said in a statement it had not yet been informed of the decision but said it “has revealed multiple and serious anomalies, particularly the absence of evidence against it or its members.”

It added: “As soon as the notification is served, and as it corresponds in law, we will appeal said sanction and in case the SIC maintains its position, the FCF will go to the Administrative Court of Cundinamarca, entity in charge of adopting a final decision, true judge of the process.”