Robbie Earle blasted over W Cup tickets
LONDON, United Kingdom — Television football pundit Robbie Earle was slammed in newspapers today after he was sacked for passing on World Cup tickets used in an ambush marketing campaign.
"Tout of Africa" headlined the tabloid Sun, while the Daily Mirror said he had been given an "Earley bath" after being removed from his role as an ITV pundit.
Some 36 models in orange miniskirt dresses made by a Dutch brewery stood in a block at the Netherlands-Denmark game, in seats which 45-year-old Earle – an ITV pundit since 2002 – had bought from ITV's allocation.
FIFA insists it was a marketing stunt in defiance of its strict commercial regulations at matches.
Earle defended himself. "Call me naive but I didn't think I was doing anything wrong," said the midfielder, who played in the Premier League with Wimbledon and scored Jamaica's first ever World Cup finals goal in 1998.
"I have absolutely no connection with any marketing ambush agency and have not profited in any way from these tickets. I hope when people hear the full story they will see me in a different light."
Terms and conditions of the tickets prevent them being passed on or sold to third parties.
But ITV said: "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."