Scotland Yard's e-Crime Unit has helped to save thousands of football fans from buying bogus tickets for the 2010 World Cup finals following a successful crack down on bogus internet sites.
FIFA called in the London-based unit to tackle the issue of internet fraudsters ahead of next year's finals in South Africa and so far the police investigation has reportedly tracked down and closed more than 100 sites around the world.
But with 500,000 supporters from the 32 participating nations expected to head to the tournament FIFA fear that the crime wave could increase as the June 11 kick-off approaches and will continue their efforts to prevent illegal ticket sales.
FIFA Secretary General Jérôme Valcke said: "Our work with New Scotland Yard is yet another example that we are taking serious steps to stop unauthorised entities from selling 2010 FIFA World Cup tickets. We applaud the work of New Scotland Yard in its efforts to ensure that our common goal to target and shut down illegitimate and unauthorised ticket sellers is achieved. We simply cannot accept that true fans are being cheated in this way."
Official tickets have so far only been sold exclusively through the FIFA website and world football's governing body will only print match tickets a few weeks before the start of the event as another measure to combat fraudsters.
Of the first batch of 630,000 official tickets to be put up for sale 301,000 were accounted for by sales in South Africa, 73,000 in the USA and 43,000 went to England fans.