7th July 2020

Colombia football bosses plus FIFA Council member fined $4.6m for World Cup tickets scam

The Colombian football federation and 17 senior executives including FIFA Council member Ramón Jesurún have been fined US$4.6 million for a World Cup tickets rip-off. An investigation by the Superintendencia de Industria y Comercio (SIC) – the country’s business regulator – took more than two years to bring a verdict against the CFC, Jesurun and colleagues who led the federation’s recent unsuccessful bid to win host rights for the 2023 Women’s World Cup.

Australia and New Zealand won the bid despite Colombia being awarded the unanimous support of all nine FIFA  Council members of European federation UEFA. Also fined by the regulator was TicketYa, the Colombian federation’s agency partner which had been set up to sell home tickets for Colombia’s games in the qualifiers for the 2018 World Cup in Russia. SIC director Andres Barreto said federation officials, TicketYa and Comercializadora de Franquicias SA had devised “a system that limited free competition to favour the Ticketshop outlet in the contract for the qualifying rounds for the 2018 World Cup in Russia”.

Pricing mark-up

Details of those involved in the scam…

Barreto said tickets were sold at well above market prices, which restricted the ability of other firms to compete. More than 42,000 tickets for eight of Colombia’s nine home games were involved in the scam, generating profits of more than US$3.5 million.

In one of the examples stated, Colombia’s home qualifier against Brazil in Barranquilla, TicketYa charged 270,000 ($74) pesos for tickets with a face value of 60,000 pesos ($16.4), a mark-up of 350%. The individuals fined included not only Jesurun, but his Vice President Alvaro Gonzalez as well as former President Luis Bedoya, who has since been banned from football for life for his role in the FIFAGate scandal.

The Colombian football federation (FCF) said in a statement it had not yet been informed of the decision, but that the investigation had been irregular and short on evidence. The Attorney General’s Office is conducting a separate criminal investigation into the reselling of tickets to matches at the finals.

Among the guilty men…

Ramón Jesurún, businessman and senior sports executive: born in Barranquilla on November 30, 1952. He  is the president of the Colombian Football Federation and is also the Vice President of the South American confederation CONMEBOL. He was preiously head of the the Major Division. Since 2016 he has been  a member of FIFA Council.

Luis Bedoyapresident of the Colombian Federation from 2006 to 2015. He joined CONMEBOL and became Vice President in 2013 . He is currently in the United States, after surrendering to the authorities in the FIFAGate case. In 2016 Bedoya, born in Pereira on September 18, 1959, was suspended for life from football by FIFA.

Álvaro González managed the minor categories of Colombian football . He was born in Manizales on September 3, 1994. He is one of the Vice Presidents of the Colombian federation. González has been delegated to represent Colombia on various FIFA and CONMEBOL bodies inclyuding the refereeing commission at the 2001 Copa América, which was organised by Colombia.

Jorge Perdomo served as a controversial president of the Dimayor from 2015 to 2018 after succeeding Jesurún. He was a candidate for the governorship of Huila, where he was President of Atlético Huila until 2010.

Alejandro Hernández has been a director of the Envigado Fútbol Club since 2007. He  is a lawyer and local football businessman as well as a player agent. He was Vice President of the club until 2010 when he was voted on to the Executive Committee of the Colombian federation. He was in office until 2018.

Claudio Cogollo was born in San Antonio, Venezuela, on November 18, 1957.  He worked in the government sector with the Ministry of public works and transportation, with the National Institute of Roads, INVIAS, and with the Northern Governance of Santander. In 2010 he joined the executive committee of the Colombian federation where he represents the amateur sector.

Elkin Arce was born in Chocó, Quibdó, on February 14, 1969. He is a Dentist at the San Martín University Foundation and is a public health specialist. He was President of of the Liga del Chocó from April 1, 2006 to March 31, 2014 when he joined the Colombian federation’s Executive Committee.

Andrés Tamayo Iannini was the Legal Director of the federation, and is now Secretary General.

Rodrigo Cobo was Director General of the Colombian federation  between 2006 and 2016. He was in charge of managing the hosting of competitions such as the FIFA U-20 World Cup.

• This article was originally published on Keir Radnedge’s internet site on 6 July 2020. Click here for the original.

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