By Nick Butler

The ticket in Humberto Maria Grondona's name was published on Twitter by an Argentinian journalist ©TwitterHumberto Grondona, son of FIFA senior vice-president Julio Grondona, has been asked to explain his actions by football's world governing body after a ticket in his name ended up in the hands of a ticket scam gang.

Grondona, a FIFA coaching instructor and Argentina youth team manager whose father is also President of the Argentine Football Federation, has been asked to provide a written statement on his comments about the alleged selling of World Cup tickets, a FIFA spokesperson confirmed. 

Speaking to Argentinian television channel TyC, Grondona admitted he had bought tickets before passing them onto friends, but insisted he had no further knowledge of what had happened to them, and has denied selling them to touts. 

This comes after police in Rio de Janeiro and Public Ministry agents staged raids in the city and in Sao Paulo last week, leading to 11 arrests plus the seizure of World Cup tickets, foreign currency, passports and mobile phones.

A French-Algerian named Mamadou Fofana has already been identified as a senior figure within the gang, with police believing that he has links to both FIFA and Official Ticketing Partner Match.

Police did not notify FIFA or Match about this investigation, named Operacao Jules Rimet after the former FIFA President after whom the World Cup Trophy is also named, amid reports the ring operated from the Copacabana Palace Hotel in which FIFA President Sepp Blatter and his senior colleagues are staying.

Ticketing scams, along with corruption allegations, have been among the only scandals penetrating the World Cup in Brazil so far ©Getty ImagesTicketing scams, along with corruption allegations, have been among the only scandals penetrating the World Cup in Brazil so far ©Getty Images

A statement from Match, the company appointed by FIFA as the worldwide exclusive rights
holder of the FIFA Hospitality Programme, confirmed that FIFA requested they conduct an internal investigation to ascertain how the tickets ended up in the hands of Fofana and his group. 

After doing this, Match admitted that the company sold approximately 105 of 290,000 Hospitality Packages to Fofana's Dubai-based Atlanta Sportif, who accepted a hospitality sales regulations which included a strict prohibition to resell any of the hospitality packages.

Based on the "breach of its contractual obligations evidenced by police media statements and arrest of Lamine Fofana", all hospitality packages purchased by the company for the remaining matches have been cancelled. 

Match Hospitality have also blocked the packages of Reliance Industries Ltd., Jet Set Sports and Pamodzi, who were also implicated in the scandal.

But despite the rumours of the involvement of someone close to FIFA, spokeswoman Fischer added: "No member of FIFA staff or executive level member has been contacted in connection with Operacao Jules Rimet."

She said FIFA had complied with all police requests for help and information.

Contact the writer of this story at [email protected]

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