FIFA official sent home in ticket scandal

A high-ranking FIFA official was sent home from the World Cup in disgrace Saturday after admitting he sold World Cup tickets for three times face value.

Botswana's Ismail Bhamjee confirmed he sold tickets at inflated prices, FIFA said in a statement.

FIFA president Sepp Blatter chaired an Emergency Committee meeting that decided to relieve Bhamjee from World Cup duties and asked him to "leave Germany at the earliest possible moment." But he will remain a member of the executive committee, pending further action.

"I am very disappointed about the conduct of a member of the FIFA Executive Committee. In such a situation, FIFA acts immediately and firmly," Blatter said in a statement.

The statement said FIFA investigated after being approached by a British newspaper claiming to have evidence of Bhamjee's ticket sales.

Bhamjee, 62, admitted to the committee he sold tickets for England's match against Trinidad and Tobago on June 15 for Ђ300 (US$380). The tickets had a face value of Ђ100 (US$127).

"I deeply regret this incorrect act and apologize to FIFA for violating the relevant terms and conditions governing the sale of tickets for the World Cup," Bhamjee said in the statement.

Bhamjee is head of the Botswana soccer association.

FIFA's executive committee comprises Blatter, a senior vice president, six vice presidents and 16 other members, including Bhamjee.

Bhamjee also was deputy chairman of FIFA's Associations Committee and a member of the finance committee.

At the World Cup, he was a designated match commissioner based at Frankfurt. The England vs. Trinidad and Tobago match was in Nuremburg, reports AP.

O.Ch.