Colombia government asks federation to investigate ticket scandal

FILE PHOTO: Colombia reacts to FIFA's announcement of the 2023 Women's World Cup host country

BOGOTA (Reuters) - Colombia's sports ministry has asked the football federation to look into whether officials were guilty of any wrongdoing after the commerce regulator ended a two-year investigation into the resale of tickets for World Cup qualifiers at inflated prices.

Senior members of the Colombian Football Federation (FCF) were fined $4.6 million (3.6 million pounds) earlier this month for planning and executing the scheme.

Those fined included FCF President Ramon Jesurun and his vice president Alvaro Gonzalez. Luis Bedoya, the former head of the federation who resigned and pleaded guilty to corruption charges in the FIFA corruption scandal, was also fined.

More than 42,000 tickets for eight of Colombia’s nine home games in the 2018 World Cup qualifiers were sold at above market prices, the regulator said.

"An investigation is necessary ... to determine if transgressions existed," the ministry said in a letter to the federation. "The suspension or removal" of members should take place if regulations are found to have been breached, it added.

The FCF said it had asked its disciplinary commission to launch an investigation on July 8. Members can only be suspended or removed once the investigation is completed.

(Reporting by Luis Jaime Acosta in Bogota; Writing by Andrew Downie in London; Editing by Peter Rutherford)