Football: Sacked Robbie Earle defends his shattered reputation
ROBBIE Earle received 400 World Cup tickets with a face value of £70,000 from ITV, the former Port Vale hero has revealed.
Earle says he requested a large allocation from ITV in the expectation of having to settle for a lesser amount – but was surprised to get almost everything he had asked for.
His allocation was for 11 games, including 40 tickets for the final itself at a face value of £600 each.
The 45-year-old has spoken out after he was sacked by ITV last week when some of his ticket allocation was apparently used by a Dutch brewery for "ambush marketing".
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A group of 36 women in orange mini-dresses were detained after the Netherlands-Denmark match and accused of promoting a brand of beer which is not one of the World Cup's sponsors.
Earle says he did not make any profit from the tickets.
However, he had his £150,000 contract with ITV cancelled after he confirmed the tickets had been sold on.
The former Port Vale and Jamaica midfielder, who grew up in Weston Coyney, says he told ITV he wanted the tickets for a close friend and that the friend was using them for his own friends and family and business clients.
According to a report in The Mail on Sunday, Earle's friend has previously been involved in the unofficial sale of tickets for sold-out sporting events, concerts and West End shows.
However, Earle says he was unaware of his friend's business activities.
He told the newspaper: "He assured me from the outset that there was no way he was going to sell these tickets.
"I knew it was my reputation on the line and he knew that, too. But he is a friend and I trusted him when he said the tickets would never be out of his control.
"He has badly let me down and cost me my job at ITV, where I have been for nine years."
Earle's allocation of 400 tickets is double the amount requested by the BBC for the whole tournament.
The BBC applied for 200 tickets, including 20 seats for the final, which it will put in a lottery for staff.
Earle said when he learned he was to receive 400 tickets, he asked for a lesser amount, but was told the tickets had already been ordered so he would have to pay for them.
He says ITV did not question why he wanted so many tickets but wrote to him reminding him he couldn't sell on the tickets, which were only to be used by close family and friends.
Earle said: "I clearly have been naive, but he is my friend. I have known him for years. I trusted him. I have received no money for these tickets and have been promised nothing."
An ITV spokesman was reported as saying: "Robbie Earle signed an official form acknowledging FIFA's rules and regulations. He assured us these tickets were for his friends and family.
"Without the knowledge, or approval of ITV or FIFA, he breached this agreement and passed a substantial number to a third party, flagrantly disregarding the undertaking he had made."