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By ESPN Staff
Sep 15, 2006

Warner to face FIFA rap

ZURICH, Sep 15 (Reuters) - FIFA vice-president Jack Warner is to face an internal disciplinary investigation into his alleged involvement in selling World Cup tickets, president Sepp Blatter said on Friday.

Blatter told a news conference at the world governing body's Zurich headquarters on Friday that Warner's case would be heard by the disciplinary committee. He said, though, it was premature to call for the vice-president's resignation.

'Jack Warner flatly denies the charges or evidence against him, and every person is entitled to the right to defend themselves,' Blatter said.

Warner, a member of the FIFA executive since 1983 and president of the Confederation of North, Central American and Caribbean football associations, and his associates are accused of personally profiting from the resale of tickets contrary to FIFA's own ticketing rules.

Blatter said the disciplinary committee investigation would examine only the alleged resale of 180 World Cup tickets originally purchased by Warner.

Blatter said the case differed from that of former FIFA executive committee member Ismail Bhamjee, who was ordered to leave the World Cup immediately and subsequently resigned his position after he admitted selling a dozen tickets at inflated prices.

'This situation is completely different,' Blatter said on Friday. 'Ismail Bhamjee admitted that he had committed more than an error and signed a document saying he had done wrong.'

Although Warner was a powerful ally of Blatter's during his initial election to the presidency in 1998 and his re-election four years later, Blatter said this would have no effect on his handling of the current allegations.

'I have no personal feelings (about this),' Blatter said.

'I have had a strong connection with Jack Warner from all our years at FIFA but that does not mean as FIFA president that I will not take action if a member has problems with applying the principle of ethics and morals.

'But we can only take action in accordance with FIFA regulations and that is what we are doing.'