الأربعاء , يونيو 10 2020

Fifa partner CEO cedes credentials

Ray Whelan (left) is escorted to a police station in Rio de Janeiro. Photo: 7 July 2014 Ray Whelan (left) was arrested at Rio’s luxurious Copacabana Palace Hotel on Monday

The director of a Fifa partner company held in Brazil over an inquiry into the illegal sale of World Cup tickets has given up his tournament credentials.

In a statement, Match Hospitality also said that Ray Whelan “takes this decision with no acceptance of wrongdoing” and would be “exonerated”.

Mr Whelan was held in Rio de Janeiro on Monday and released after questioning.

Last week, police arrested 11 people suspected of involvement in a lucrative ticket-reselling racket.

Police say an international gang earned as much as $90m (£52m) per tournament and could have operated at four World Cups.

‘Assisting police’

“Ray Whelan will voluntarily relinquish his accreditation for the 2014 Fifa World Cup in Brazil today,” Match Hospitality’s statement said.



World Cup ticket

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Investigators told the BBC’s Wyre Davies that the scam was on an “industrial scale” – first broadcast 6 July

It added that Mr Whelan, a British national, “remains fully co-operative for further investigations which he is certain will exonerate him”.

The firm’s chief executive was arrested at the luxury Copacabana Palace Hotel, which is also hosting officials from Fifa, world football’s governing body.

He was taken for questioning as part of the investigation entitled Operation Jules Rimet, and was released on Tuesday.

His lawyer, Fernando Fernandes, said that his arrest was “illegal and absurd”.

Mr Whelan remains a suspect in the case. His lawyers told local media that they had voluntarily surrendered his passport.

Switzerland-based Match Hospitality – part of UK sports event manager Byrom based in Cheadle, near Manchester – said on Tuesday that it was assisting the police investigation.

A statement from Fifa said that it “continues to fully collaborate with the local authorities and will provide any details requested to assist with this ongoing investigation”.

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