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By ESPN Staff

Warner facing suspension

FIFA vice-president Jack Warner has been judged to have violated the organisation's code of ethics by his involvement with selling World Cup tickets.

The case, unprecedented in FIFA's history, could lead to Warner being suspended from the game's world governing body.

Warner has been found guilty of a conflict of interest after his family's travel agency were given the rights to sell Trinidad and Tobago's entire ticket allocation for the World Cup finals.

He brought the matter to the attention of FIFA's committee for ethics and fair play himself, but now faces action from FIFA's executive committee next month. Sanctions could include a suspension from FIFA.

A FIFA statement said: 'The committee concluded that because of his involvement with Simpaul Travel Service in Port-of-Spain, FIFA vice-president Jack A Warner has a conflict of interest with regard to ticketing for the 2006 FIFA World Cup, and as a result, he has violated FIFA's code of ethics. The FIFA executive committee will now discuss this matter on March 16-17, 2006.'

Warner is a special adviser to the T&T football federation and eyebrows were raised after Simpaul, the travel agency owned by his family and of which he is a director, bought the rights to sell the tickets.

Critics believe that at least the rights should have gone out to public tender rather Simpaul merely paying £50,000 to be the authorised ticket sellers.

Simpaul is offering a £2,720 package for Trinidad's three group matches, including 12 nights in a hotel but not flights nor transport costs in Germany. They are not selling tickets, which would have a face value of a maximum of £207, separately.

It is not the first time that Warner's business activities have appeared to conflict with his role in football administration.

In the 1980s and 90s he obtained FIFA's TV rights for the Caribbean for a pittance and then sold them on to broadcasters.

FIFA ethics committee have also resolved to submit a proposal to the executive committee regarding the code of ethics, suggesting that it should be revised to include a provision governing betting that in the future will also be applied to players, agents, associations and clubs.

The committee also called for stricter sanctions to be imposed for racism.

The FIFA statement added: 'With this in mind, the committee decided to hold this year's FIFA anti-discrimination day on June 30 and July 1 to coincide with the four FIFA World Cup quarter-final matches and in this way take an appropriate stand against racism.'