BUENOS AIRES - The vice-chairman of the Argentinian Football Association (AFA), Luis Segura, admitted Tuesday selling World Cup tickets but denied scalping. His comments came amid a scandal over the dismantling in Brazil of a scalping network blamed for fraud worth tens of millions of dollars.
Brazil is currently questioning 11 suspects in connection with the case, including a British ticketing executive who is a director of FIFA partner Match Services. Referring to passing on FIFA tickets allocated to the AFA, Segura told Del Plata radio: “I made a serious mistake and I regret it.” He explained he had passed on a number of tickets which FIFA allocates to national federations.
But he added: “What I did from my modest position was sell (at face value) to people who were traveling to Brazil without tickets and we tried to solve this problem for people” concerned, said Segura. FIFA stipulates that ticket holders may not sell on tickets or transfer them to another person without written consent from world football’s governing body. Asked for further information on the sale of tickets, including for Sunday’s final which Argentina lost to Germany, Segura said the recipients of the tickets concerned where “people known” to the AFA.
“I can’t come out and announce I had tickets so we tried to sell those which were left over to known people,” he said. He added that “some 400 people were asking for tickets — some nicely and others with insults.” But “if you have the chance to resolve 100 people’s problems then you do so.”
AFA ticketing administration head Emiliano Vazquez also denied wrongdoing and told broadcaster Todo Noticias an investigation in Brazil did not find any illegal behavior by AFA officials. “Nobody has made a complaint.
A video in Brazil shows AFA people coming in and charging for a ticket and this is logical because the FIFA tickets have a cost,” said Vazquez. He added that 175 tickets were left over from AFA’s FIFA allocation for the final and the Association sold them on “to recoup the money.”
But he insisted that none was sold for above face value. Some 100,000 Argentinians came to Rio for the final — most without tickets. On July 4, Humberto Grondona, son of FIFA vice-president and AFA president Julio Grondona, denied any AFA involvement in the scalping network now under investigation in Brazil. Speaking in Brazil, Humberto Grondona JR, technical director of Argentina’s under17 side, said he had given “some” tickets to a friend who wanted to attend the tournament. “He in turn gave tickets to another friend. What did they do with the tickets. That I don’t know,” he said.
Pictures emerged during the event of a ticket for Argentina’s second-round match with Switzerland bearing the name “Humberto Mario Grondona.” The ticket ended up in the hands of a friend of an Argentine journalist, who tweeted that she had had to pay “double the original price” for it.