RIO DE JANEIRO: Match Hospitality, one of the Bryom group companies partnering FIFA in its World Cup ticketing set-up, has insisted it is confident that arrested director Ray Whelan is innocent of any violations of laws or regulations.
Whelan was detained by Rio police on Monday evening and released later on bail on surrender of his passport to return to work.
In a statement, Match said it had “complete faith that the facts will establish that he has not violated any laws.”
It added: “Match will continue to fully support all police investigations, which we firmly believe will fully exonerate Ray. In the meantime, Ray Whelan, as well as the rest of the Match personnel will continue to work on our operational areas of responsibility in order to deliver a successful 2014 FIFA World Cup Brazil.”
Earlier Match Hospitality said it had suspended tickets acquired by Reliance Industries Ltd, Jet Set Sports and Pamodzi Sports “pending further investigations” because after entries containing their names were seized by police. The Zurich-based agency cancelled tickets acquired by another company, Atlanta Sportif Management.
Terms and conditions
Match said the four companies bought World Cup tickets valued at $2.7m and had signed up to ‘strict’ terms and conditions of use and distribution. It did not specify how many of the tickets were for the semi-finals and final.
If Reliance, Jet Set and Pamodzi and their customers did not cooperate with the police investigation, the semifinal and final tickets they bought would also be cancelled.
Police in Rio arrested 11 people last week in Operacao Jules Rimet.
FIFA spokesperson Delia Fischer reiterated this morning FIFA’s “firm stance agst any form of violation of ticketing law” and the world federation’s full support and co-operation with the police and other investigating authorities.
Infront, one of FIFA’s other commercial partners, has also sought to clarify its own relationship with Match.
A statement said: “Infront Sports & Media (Infront) or any of its employees are not involved at all with Match Services, service provider for accommodation, IT and ticketing at the 2014 FIFA World Cup Brazil™, and/or with Byrom plc.
“Infront is a 5pc minority shareholder of Match Hospitality, the rights holder for the official Hospitality Programme at the 2014 FIFA World Cup Brazil™. Infront’s President & ceo Philippe Blatter does not hold any position with Match Hospitality.
“Infront is fully supporting Match Hospitality in collaborating with the local authorities investigating in the matter.”