BOGOTA (Reuters) - The Colombian Football Federation (FCF) and some of its senior members have been fined $4.6 million (3.6 million pounds) for planning and executing a scheme to resell World Cup tickets at inflated prices, the country’s commerce regulator said on Monday.
The decision came after two years of investigation and also included fines for 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.
Investigators with the Superintendency of Industry and Commerce said the tickets were sold at well above market prices and restricted the ability of other firms to compete.
More than 42,000 tickets for eight of Colombia’s nine home games were involved in the scam, generating profits of more than $3.5 million.
In one of the examples cited, Colombia’s home qualifier against Brazil in Barranquilla, TICKET YA charged 270,000 ($74) pesos for tickets with a face value of 60,000 pesos ($16.4), a mark up of 350%.
The individuals fined include FCF president Ramon Jesurun and his vice president Alvaro Gonzalez.
Luis Bedoya, the former head of the federation who resigned and pleaded guilty to corruption charges in the FIFA corruption scandal, was also fined.
The FCF said in a statement it had not yet been informed of the decision but highlighted what it said were irregularities in the investigation and a lack of evidence.
The Attorney General’s Office is conducting a criminal investigation into the reselling of World Cup tickets.
Reporting by Luis Jaime Acosta; writing by Andrew Downie; Editing by Ken Ferris