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Never mind the extra curricular activities of Wayne Rooney! I want to know when the commercial brains that run world football will get their house in order?

This week, as well as hearing all about the Manchester United forward's alleged dalliances with fragrant young women, we’ve also been offered yet another tale of fans being ripped off – this time by unscrupulous ‘insiders’ who are selling the confidential financial and personal information of more than 250,000 people who travelled to the 2006 World Cup finals in Germany.

Media reports suggest the identities of as many as 35,000 England fans could have been compromised, as well as the details of nearly 20,000 American citizens, 36,000 Swiss nationals, 42,000 Portuguese and 36,000 Dutch fans. Supporters from Poland, Italy, Germany, France, Spain and Croatia have also been affected.

As it stands right now, one employee at a major ticketing agency in the UK is thought to be heavily involved in the scam – but as investigations are at an early stage, and no arrests have been made, the details remain sketchy.

What we do know is the scale of this alleged ‘insider fraud’ is potentially huge and very far-reaching.

And if it turns out to be as bad as the initial reports suggest, someone at FIFA (the world governing body) and the ticketing agency at the heart of this fresh scandal should be shot!

Why? Because the database at the heart of the enquiry should have been destroyed after the 2006 tournament had finished, in line with international law. It wasn’t – yet no-one knew until some of the data started to be offered for sale in Scandinavia many months later.

The details of 50,000 Swedish and Norwegian fans were initially offered for sale – including those of former Swedish Prime Minister Ingvar Carlsson and former Minister of Integration Jens Orback. This sparked fears there was something seriously wrong. An inquiry was launched, which revealed the true extent of the problem.

In today’s age, ensuring data breaches on this scale are totally preventable. Some forward planning, the right security brains, a willingness to address a problem - and a modest budget – are all that is required to get on top of the issue and stay on top of it!

It is all well and good investigators running around and saying they’ve successfully identified the perpetrator. This is tantamount to closing the proverbial stable door after the horse has bolted.

Reputations are now in tatters, significant costs now have to be borne in order to address the situation – and the people who should have managed the situation properly could find themselves looking for new jobs in the very near future.

Prevention is always the best cure for any organisation. Perhaps it is about time football chiefs realised this – and started to act accordingly.



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