Ticket Scandal Turns Into Criminal Matter

From Associated Press

French authorities said for the first time Saturday they were ready to investigate the growing international scandal involving World Cup tickets.

The Paris prosecutor's office said fans in France who were ripped off by ticket brokers or tour operators should file a complaint including "evidence to determine how and where the events occurred."

A local marketing arm of the company that handles sponsors and TV contracts for soccer's ruling body filed its own complaint in the case.

ISL Marketing France, which is partly owned by the Swiss-based ISL company, said it was "a victim of fraud" by a consultant who apparently sold thousands of tickets to which he had no access.

FIFA, the international soccer body, and the French World Cup organizing committee said earlier in the week they would file lawsuits against companies or individuals found to have taken part in the scams, which have left thousands of fans without tickets they had been promised or even paid for.


Fernand Sastre, who led France's drive to be host of the World Cup and served as co-president of the tournament's organizing committee, died Saturday of lung cancer. He was 74.

Sastre shared the presidency of the committee with former World Cup star Michel Platini. Hospitalized in Paris, Sastre died three days after the championship began.

"Destiny did not see fit to give him the opportunity to see this World Cup through when he gave so much to it," Platini said in a statement. "Soccer has lost a great ambassador today."


Ha Seok Ju of South Korea was given a red card in the 30th minute of Saturday's match with Mexico.

"I doubt it was a veritable red card," Korean Coach Cha Bum Kun said. "Maybe a yellow. Of course, I told the players about the new FIFA rule about tackling from behind."

FIFA increased the penalty for the sliding, studs-up tackles from behind with the start of this World Cup by instructing referees to eject any player who attempts such a challenge and commits a foul.


Saudi Arabian team members lost $11,000 in cash when their hotel rooms were burglarized while they were playing their first World Cup match Friday.

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