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ITV axe Earle over World Cup tickets breach

World Cup pundit Robbie Earle was sacked by ITV today after tickets for matches in South Africa were found to have been used for "unauthorised purposes".

The broadcaster said a "substantial number" of tickets, which were for Earle's friends and family, had been passed to a "third party".

ITV had investigated how its allocation had been used after governing body FIFA raised concerns generally.

A block of tickets for the Holland-Denmark match had aroused suspicions.

Earle is a former Wimbledon and Port Vale player who also played for Jamaica in the World Cup in 1998.

In a statement, ITV said: "Following claims by FIFA that official 2010 World Cup tickets may have been used for ambush marketing, ITV has reviewed its entire ticket allocation for the tournament.

"Immediate investigations indicated that a block of ITV tickets would appear to have been used for unauthorised purposes during the Holland v Denmark match.

"Further inquiries have revealed that a substantial number of tickets allocated to Robbie Earle for family and friends have been passed to a third party in breach of Fifa rules.

"As a result, Robbie Earle's contract with ITV has been terminated with immediate effect."

A spokesman for Earle's agent said there was no comment at this stage.

Belfast Telegraph