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 Posted by ESPN Staff
Sep 16, 2006

Ticket scandal is first test for Olympic hero Coe

FIFA are set to suffer a painful period of in-fighting over a World Cup ticket scandal.

Controversial FIFA vice-president Jack Warner is to be investigated by the world governing body's disciplinary committee after auditors said he had breached rules on ticket sales.

Now, in a leaked letter, Warner has accused FIFA general secretary Urs Linsi of being 'hostile' and issuing 'veiled threats' about the issue.

The two men are among the most important people in world football, and the fall-out could overshadow Lord Sebastian Coe's appointment as watchdog leader.

Coe, chairman of the London 2012 Olympics, has agreed to head FIFA's new ethics commission which will judge all cases alleging conflicts of interest and breaches of FIFA rules.

At least the former Olympic runner will avoid having to deal with the scandal which has engulfed Warner, a staunch support of FIFA president Sepp Blatter's, as the ethics commission will rule only on new cases.

Warner's case will now be investigated by FIFA's disciplinary committee.

Blatter told a news conference in Zurich: 'We have found an outstanding personality in the world of sport, a great personality in the Olympic movement. Sebastian Coe will be the chairman of this committee.

'He has total integrity and will have total independence.

'To have someone from outside of football means he has no links with the football family and he has an ethical approach to sport.

'It is perhaps a surprise but it has been very well received.'

Coe said in a statement: 'I am delighted to have been selected to this important role.

'Inspiring young people into sport is a personal passion of mine. To do this, we must protect and promote the ethics and morals of sport for future generations.

'My role as chairman of London 2012, as IAAF Council member, as a member of UK Athletics Council and as chair of FIFA's ethics committee will involve me in this area at the very highest level of sport.'

Warner, a FIFA vice-president from Trinidad & Tobago, was this week revealed to have been identified by FIFA's auditors as being involved in the sale of World Cup tickets for several times their face value - a clear breach of FIFA rules.

Linsi said at today's conference: 'Certain numbers of tickets have been sold for a value four times higher, but that's what has to be investigated and found out by looking at the books of the stakeholders. That's something the disciplinary committee will have to work on.'

Warner has prepared a case alleging he is the innocent victim of a campaign.

It is not the first time he has been involved in allegations about making a profit out of his position - he escaped censure in March, despite FIFA ruling he was guilty of a clear conflict of interest.

Warner, a special adviser to the Trinidad & Tobago FA, broke the code of conduct after his family's travel company, Simpaul, secured exclusive rights to sell his country's entire World Cup ticket allocation.

Warner told FIFA that he and his wife had sold their shares in Simpaul and had no idea he had violated any rules.

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

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