RIO DE JANEIRO: World football federation FIFA has offered a ringing endorsement and vote of confidence in the Byrom and Match companies caught up in a World Cup ticketing scandal.

Two weeks ago 11 individuals were arrested in Rio de Janeiro and Sao Paulo on suspicion of involvement in a long-running, multi-million ticket touting operations. Later Ray Whelan, executive consultant to Match Services, was arrested, released then sought again in connection with what Rio police had labelled Operacao Jules Rimet.

Several hospitality companies had their tickets suspended and/or cancelled in the saga which was marked by prejudicial daily leaks by the police and public affairs ministry.

FIFA has now issued a formal statement in which it said an “assessment of all facts and underlying business concepts will exonerate the staff and principals of Byrom plc.”

FIFA statement

MATCH Services AG is a wholly owned subsidiary of Byrom plc, a company that has been an official service provider to FIFA and its Local Organising Committees for every edition of the FIFA World Cup™ since 1994.

Byrom plc, and respectively its subsidiaries, was appointed by FIFA to act as its ticketing services provider responsible for delivering various elements of the ticketing solution following the 1998 FIFA World Cup. These elements included FIFA’s Ticketing Enforcement programme.

Byrom plc has worked with FIFA on the production of all the legal and regulatory documents that have framed the authorised sale of tickets by FIFA for every edition of the FIFA World Cup following the 1998 FIFA World Cup to all its constituent groups including the Participating Member Association (PMAs), the non-PMAs, the confederations, the partners, sponsors and other commercial affiliates and the general public.

Prior to the appointment of Byrom plc, the respective Local Organising Committees were responsible for ticket sales and related operations. Following 1998, FIFA assumed control and responsibility for ticket sales and related operations and at all times following this decision, Byrom plc has served FIFA’s ticketing operation without being aware of a single incident of impropriety by the staff or principals of Byrom plc.

In connection with the 2014 FIFA World Cup Brazil™, FIFA has appointed MATCH Services AG as its service provider amongst others for the ticketing operations.

In 2007, MATCH Hospitality AG, a legal entity separate from MATCH Services AG and not wholly owned by Byrom plc, acquired the Hospitality Rights for the 2010 and 2014 FIFA World Cup™ cycles. This cooperation with MATCH Hospitality AG was subsequently extended to include also the 2018 and 2022 FIFA World Cup cycles.

Pursuant to the commercial rights acquired by MATCH Hospitality AG, for the purpose of using the tickets as part of hospitality packages, FIFA allocated in excess of 450,000 tickets covering all 64 Matches of the 2014 FIFA World Cup™. At various times and in accordance with the contractual arrangements between FIFA and MATCH Hospitality, MATCH Hospitality has returned to FIFA in excess of 150,000 tickets which were originally planned to be comprised in hospitality packages but remained unsold. FIFA has made these returned tickets available for sale predominantly to members of the general public.

Based on the experience gained throughout almost 30 years of collaboration with Byrom plc, FIFA trusts in the loyal and respectable business behaviour of Byrom plc, its staff and principals and is confident that an assessment of all facts and underlying business concepts will exonerate the staff and principals of Byrom plc.

FIFA is fully committed to fight any form of ticket touting activity in connection with the FIFA World Cup™ in order to ensure a fair allocation and pricing of tickets to the benefit of football fans around the world.