FIFA was forced to pay $16.8 million plus interest to the U.S. ticket broker JB Sports Marketing, who never received World Cup tickets in 2014, a Swiss Supreme Court ruled.
JBSM has been engaged in a lawsuit against FIFA since 2015. According to an email exchange between former FIFA general secretary Jerome Valcke and Benny Alon of JBSM, the pair agreed to a legally-binding deal to issue World Cup tickets. Although JBSM planned to sell the tickets above face value on the black market, which is against FIFA’s ticketing policy, Valcke still agreed. However, JBSM was never issued the tickets.
The court ordered FIFA to pay JBSM $16.8 million, which totals around $18.6 million or £14.7 million after the annual interest is added. According to Daily Mail, FIFA has paid JBSM, however, FIFA may now face another large reimbursement. JBSM will now move forward with another legal action to claim compensation for 4,000 tickets they were promised but did not receive for the Russia World Cup.
Valcke, who was fired in 2017, is also under scrutiny for breaking FIFA’s rules and agreeing to sell tickets to JBSM not only in 2014, but in 2013 and 2018 as well. He allegedly agreed to split a share of the proceeds from 2014 to 2018 and was supposedly going to be paid $500,000 cash in payment in 2013. He received a 10-year-ban from football after violating FIFA’s ethical rules.
Daily Mail also reports that FIFA may be forced to pay equally as much in another case, however, details of this case have not been revealed at this time. These lawsuits join a list of ticket controversies FIFA has been involved in throughout the years, dating back to 1998. Just in 2018, FIFA is due to pay approximately $40 million to pay-off failed black market deals for tickets to the 2014 and 2018 men’s World Cups.