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Farrell in clear over ticket sale

Owen Farrell has been absolved of blame by a Rugby Football Union investigation after a match ticket allocated to the England fly-half was sold on a ticketing website.

The RFU has looked into the circumstances that led to the £70 ticket for Saturday's 13-10 RBS 6 Nations victory over Ireland being bought on Viagogo for £440.

Although the investigation is continuing, the RFU has already concluded that Farrell should not be punished.

"Owen Farrell has been absolved of any responsibility for the ticket issued under his name getting into the hands of a secondary ticketing operator and as such is cleared of any wrongdoing. He will therefore not face any sanction," an RFU spokesman said.

"Owen is a young man of the utmost integrity and no blame can be attached to him in this matter.

"Enquiries continue as to the circumstances whereby this ticket was sold above face value, contravening the terms and conditions of sale."

The RFU's decision to clear Farrell has removed an unwanted distraction as the British and Irish Lions half-back continues preparations for the visit of Wales to Twickenham on March 9.

England remain in Six Nations title contention with Farrell an influential figure in their bid to win a first Championship crown under head coach Stuart Lancaster.

The RFU takes a dim view of tickets being sold by third parties and launched a crackdown on black market sales in 2009.

Had the outcome of the investigation decided that Farrell acted erroneously, he could have seen his ticket allocation suspended or received an official warning.

It is thought that Farrell gave the ticket to a friend in good faith with no intention of it being re-sold, before a series of events led to it appearing on Viagogo.

England flanker James Haskell had his allocation suspended for three matches following a similar incident five years ago.

As a result of the same clampdown on the resale of matchday tickets at Twickenham, the RFU also punished a number of clubs and individuals.

In 2012 the RFU secured a landmark judgment in its long-standing dispute with Viagogo, one of the biggest secondary ticket brokers, following an 18-month legal battle.

It defeated Viagogo in the supreme court on the issue of ownership of ticketing rights, policy and pricing.

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