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Julio’s son denies charges

Rio de Janeiro: The son of Fifa senior vice-president Julio Grondona has denied claims he illegally sold a World Cup ticket for profit.

Humberto Grondona tells Argentine TV channel TyC that he gave a friend the $220 ticket for the Argentina-Switzerland match last Tuesday. Grondona said in a broadcast telephone interview: “I care about my family… How would I do such a stupid thing?”

A photograph of the ticket issued to “Humberto Mario Grondona” was posted on journalist Andres Burgo’s Twitter page. Burgo writes that a friend paid double the original price to see the Round-of-16 match in Sao Paulo.

The claim was made after Rio de Janeiro police arrested 11 people suspected of running a scalping operation. Police said the suspected source of tickets is a person staying at the Copacabana Palace Hotel used by senior Fifa officials.

Earlier, police commissioner Fabio Barucke said “someone from Fifa” and “an intermediary from Match Hospitality”, Fifa’s ticket agency, had channelled the tickets onto the black market.

The scandal is the latest to hit Fifa, which is already battling allegations that members accepted bribes from a Qatari football official to secure support for the Emirate’s campaign to get the 2022 World Cup finals.

The tickets are normally reserved for sponsors, football federations, players and non-government organisations.

A police investigation dubbed “Operation Jules Rimet” after the former French Fifa president was launched without the governing body’s knowledge, the police chief said.

Fifa president Sepp Blatter, under fierce pressure over the Qatar claims and other alleged corruption at his organisation, said he was unaware of the case.