Written by Jeremy Paxman
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Saturday, 26 June 2010

image for Robbie Earle In New World Cup Ticket Outrage

Disgraced ITV pundit Robbie Earle is now facing a further barrage of criticism following earlier shocking revelations regarding his allocation of 400 World Cup tickets from his ITV paymasters - including 40 for the final - which he subsequently passed on to a 'friend' later revealed to be a professional ticket tout.

FIFA have already acknowledged that the reason for the half empty stadiums during the World Cup have been a direct result of Robbie Earle's ticket allocation being removed from his possession by ITV. Reports that his allocation of 274,564 vuvuzela's have now fallen into terrorist hands in Afghanistan are as yet unconfirmed although an ITV insider did state "there is a real and present danger that Al Queda now have possession of a weapon of mass annoyance".

In the latest round of what seems like almost daily revelations centering around the former 'alleged' footballer; South African government sources have now confirmed to our correspondant that Earle is currently being questioned over an alleged ticket touting scheme for Nelson Mandela's yet to be confirmed funeral.

Although details are sketchy at this juncture, it has been claimed that Robbie Earle was issued a "personal allowance for friends and family" of 125 tickets for Mandela's funeral and that many of these tickets have now fallen into the hands of ticket touts who have been selling them at many times their face value.

Former US President Bill Clinton - previously ostracized by the Mandela family over the misuse of a pack of Cuban cigars gifted to the premier by Mandela - purchased a VIP Mandela Funeral package from Mr Earle's wife although Mr Clinton was quoted as saying at the USA vs Ghana match that "he did not have relations with that woman".

Mr Earle was unavailable for comment today but a spokesman for him said that "Robbie Earle was issued with a small number of tickets for Mr Mandela's proposed funeral by ITV which is the official UK broadcaster for the Mandela funeral. Whilst he did make some tickets available to close family friends, he is entirely unaware of any commercial resale of those tickets and he intends to fully vindicate himself against any allegations of impropriety. His thoughts are with the Mandela family at this sad time."

South African officials were keen to stress that Nelson Mandela remains completely mortal and fully functioning and that plans for his funeral are "just one component part of an overall package of high quality events planned in South Africa following the 2010 World Cup".

ITV have launched an urgent investigation into this latest incident and have already replaced Earle as the official Mandela funeral pundit with Edgar Davids and Ron Atkinson.

More news on this developing scandal as we manufacture it.

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