Tuesday, 25 October 2011

Touts Sold Sir Alex Ferguson's Manchester United tickets

Manchester United tickets assigned to Sir Alex Ferguson fell into the hands of touts.The Manchester United boss – who is not suspected of any wrong-doing – was named at the court case of four men convicted over a huge illegal operation outside Old Trafford. A total of 16 tickets printed with Sir Alex’s name were uncovered after a covert police operation into illegal activities on match days close to the Theatre of Dreams. It is understood Manchester United launched a top secret internal investigation after police told them of their findings. Sir Alex was interviewed by club bosses as part of the probe. He said he had given the tickets to acquaintances and had no knowledge of the illegal operation. The club confirmed the tickets were legitimate and had originally been allocated to Sir Alex. Officials at United are given tickets which they can give to whoever they choose. A United source said that while most of the tickets were used by the manager other staff at Carrington had access to them. The revelations emerged at Trafford magistrates court yesterday as the touts were slapped with fines and banning orders. Karl Rowe, 51, Mark Rowe, 47, Anthony Jones, 44, and Christopher Fallon 51, pleaded guilty to selling or otherwise distributing tickets without authorisation. The four men were arrested in a sting operation codenamed Pickup which saw undercover officers visit four United home games last season. They found the men were part of a gang who worked from a hotel near the ground and advertised tickets for sale on the internet. Many of their customers came from abroad with one travelling from as far as Japan and handing over £200 to see one match. Money changed hands via the site with the hotel used as a drop off and collection point. It is understood the tickets bearing Sir Alex's name were produced as part of the men's case that they had authority from the club to distribute tickets.

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