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Colombian government calls for further probe into World Cup resale scheme

The Colombian sports ministry has called for a further investigation into the officials fined earlier this month due to the reselling of 2018 FIFA World Cup tickets at inflated prices.

In a letter to the Colombian Football Federation (FCF), the National Ministry of Sports requested it look closer into whether officials were guilty of any misconduct.

The ministry said, according to Reuters: “An investigation is necessary… to determine if transgressions existed.” Adding that the “suspension or removal” of members should take place if regulations are found to have been breached.

The FCF said it had asked its disciplinary commission to launch an investigation on July 8, following the commerce regulator’s decision to fine it $4.6m (£3.6m/€4.1m).

Members can only be suspended or removed once the investigation is completed.

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 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.

Following the announcement on July 7 from the Superintendency of Industry and Commerce (SIC), 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.”

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.”