The son of FIFA Senior Vice President Julio Grondona denies he scalped a World Cup ticket that a journalist says was resold for double the original price.
“You think with how much I care about my family name I would do such a stupid thing?” Humberto Grondona told Argentine television station TyC by phone yesterday, denying he sold the ticket for a profit.
Humberto Grondona told TyC he sold a friend the $220 ticket for the July 1 game between Argentina and Switzerland in Sao Paulo. Argentine journalist Andres Burgo posted a picture of a ticket issued to “Humberto Mario Grondona” on Twitter, saying that a friend paid double the original price for it.
Selling tickets for more than face value is illegal in Brazil. Rio de Janeiro’s civil police is investigating whether a FIFA employee provided tickets to scalpers and is asking the soccer organization to collaborate and help identify the suspect, investigator Fabio Barucke said yesterday.
Grondona said he spent more than $9,000 on 24 tickets for group games and knockout matches including the final and a semi-final. His father is the head of Argentina’s soccer federation. He has been on FIFA’s governing executive body since 1988 and is chairman of its finance committee.
“I have a friend that is someone very well known in Argentina who wanted to come and I sold to him some of these tickets,” Humberto Grondona said. “He on his part gave the tickets to another friend. What they then did with the tickets I have no idea.”
FIFA spokeswoman Delia Fischer declined to comment when asked about the ticket sale, saying the soccer organization doesn’t discuss individual cases.
Police arrested 39 people negotiating ticket sales outside the Maracana stadium before yesterday’s quarterfinal match between France and Germany, Rio state’s security secretariat said in an e-mailed statement.
FIFA has sold almost 3 million tickets for the 64-game monthlong event, including seats for corporate sponsors such as Visa Inc. (V:US) and Coca-Cola Co. (KO:US) Officials from its 209-member federation also have the right to buy tickets.
To contact the reporter on this story: Tariq Panja in Rio de Janeiro at firstname.lastname@example.org
To contact the editors responsible for this story: Christopher Elser at email@example.com Randall Woods, Andre Soliani