10:04 16 June 2010
ITV's star World Cup pundit Robbie Earle has been sacked.
The broadcaster gave the sportsmen (who played for Wimbledon and Port Vale as well as for Jamaica in the 1998 World Cup) the boot after exclsuive tickets for his family and friends were passed on to a third party.
ITV claimed that a "substantial number" of tickets for the Denmark v Holland match on Monday had been passed on. Distributing tickets or reselling them represents a breach of Fifa rules.
The block of tickets were reprtedly used by a Dutch beer company for an "ambush marketing effort". The beer company is not one of the World Cup's official sponsors.
36 women clad in orange mini-dresses promoting the brand were ejected from the game. Members of the group were found to have used tickets that were allocated to Earle.
In a statement Earle said: "I didn't think I was doing anything wrong."
He added: "I hope when people hear the full story they will see me in a different light. I have absolutely no connection with any marketing ambush agency and have not profited in any way from these tickets."
ITV's statement read: "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," the TV network said in a statement.
"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 enquiries 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."
Earle, 45, is an ambassador for England's 2018 World Cup bid.
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