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ITV axe pundit Earle over alleged ticket scam

World Cup pundit Robbie Earle has been axed from his position on ITV after tickets for matches in South Africa were found to have been used for 'unauthorised purposes', reports the Daily Mail. 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.

The group of 36 women, all wearing orange mini-dresses, were ejected from the game when FIFA bosses accused them of wearing the outfits to promote Bavaria beer, which is not one of the official sponsors.

The practice is known as 'ambush marketing'.

Members of the group were found to still have tickets in their possession and it is understood they were part of Earle's allocation. Earle, who has been an ITV pundit since 2002, 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.

ITV is not thought to be investigating anybody else.

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