—- The Byrom Group of companies, including MATCH Services AG and MATCH Hospitality AG, can today announce that the criminal case brought against Ray Whelan in Brazil during the closing stages of the 2014 FIFA World Cup™ has now been officially closed in its entirety.

As early as February 2015, only seven months after Ray Whelan was charged, the Brazilian courts made their judgement to entirely overturn the charges against Ray, citing the material ineptitude and institutional cowardice of the criminal case, due to the total lack of any supporting evidence for their claims.

A statutory appeal process followed and various appeals were made by the Brazilian prosecutor during which time no new evidence was ever submitted, nor were any valid grounds established to challenge the February 2015 judgement.

The very serious charges brought against Ray Whelan were unjustified, baseless and utterly unsupported by either fact or supporting evidence.  It was also alleged by the police that they were in possession of over 900 phone calls involving Ray which purported to prove criminal activity on his part.

Brazil’s foremost expert witness in telecommunications surveillance completely disproved and exposed this fabricated accusation, proving conclusively that only 28 calls lasting 17 minutes and 24 seconds in total had actually taken place.

One recorded telephone conversation was illegally leaked to national media outlets in Brazil, which purported to prove Ray’s involvement in the sale of General Public ticket for the 2014 FIFA World Cup™, whereas in actual fact, Ray was merely discussing the sale of official corporate hospitality packages at their official price, and on behalf of MATCH Hospitality, FIFA’s official hospitality provider.

At the end of September 2016, the highest federal court in Brazil officially closed matters once and for all in Ray’s favour. This decision finally terminated the appeal process. The decision also reiterated the inept grounds of the original criminal complaint. The official Court document to support this is separately attached.


Jaime Byrom, Executive Chairman / Director of the Byrom Group of companies, stated: “For more than two years our companies have been obliged to conduct a determined and thorough legal process in Brazil to ensure that Ray’s innocence is definitively asserted and to ensure that all attempts to undermine or challenge such innocence are quashed at the highest judicial level in Brazil.”

Ray Whelan was taken into custody by the Civil Police of Rio de Janeiro on 7th July and subsequently released again in the early hours of 8th July 2014 and re-arrested on 14th July 2014. Following his second arrest, Ray spent a total of 24 days incarcerated in Rio de Janeiro.  He was subsequently released on 6th August 2014.  His passport was returned to him in October 2014.

“This entire matter has caused immeasurable damage and harm to Ray and to his family and to the Byrom Group of companies, including MATCH Services AG and MATCH Hospitality AG, who have at all times served FIFA with integrity and professionalism of the highest standards.  We were all left with no choice but to defend Ray vociferously via the Brazilian judiciary system, as well refuting baseless and harmful allegations in the Brazilian media and the international media, when necessary and appropriate”, Jaime Byrom further commented.

“At all times, we have maintained that Ray Whelan was innocent and had every confidence that he would be exonerated fully from the untrue and groundless charges that he was faced with.   We are pleased that today, we are able to say that our position has been fully vindicated and reiterate our confidence and trust in the Superior Courts of Brazil”, Mr Byrom said.

The coverage of Ray Whelan’s arrests, his incarceration and subsequent court proceedings has been entirely one-sided, prejudiced, unrepresentative, and in many instances entirely inaccurate, from the very outset. These inaccurate stories live on forever in electronic archives (that includes the internet but also any other similar repository) and it is impossible to have them deleted, even though the case against Ray Whelan has now been closed and allegations therein have been proven to be untrue and unfounded.

About the Byrom Group of companies

Byrom plc is the parent company to several wholly owned subsidiaries registered in England, Switzerland, Spain, Brazil, South Africa, Russia and the United States which have provided services to rights holders of major international sporting events over the course of the last three decades.  These companies are referred to as the Byrom Group of companies. 

MATCH Services AG, which has provided ticketing, accommodation and IT solution services to FIFA for the 2010 and 2014 FIFA World Cups and now also for the 2018 FIFA World Cup, is part of the Byrom Group.  Other subsidiaries within the Byrom Group have provided services to other clients, including the Ryder Cup Europe, the European Rugby Cup, A1 Grand Prix, Wales Rally GB and The Royal & Ancient.

MATCH Accommodation

In December 2012, Byrom plc was appointed by FIFA to provide the accommodation solution for the 2018 FIFA World Cup Russia™, FIFA Confederations Cup 2017 and related events.

MATCH Accommodation 2018 is a wholly owned subsidiary of Byrom plc, formed for business activities in Russia for the aforementioned events.

MATCH Accommodation 2018’s mandate includes;

•evaluation of the available hotel room inventory

•verification of existing hotel contracts already in place for the events

•rate negotiations in the Russian market

•procurement of additional or alternative accommodation inventory

•management and non-exclusive sale of accommodation inventory

•allocation and sale of accommodation inventory to FIFA and certain national and international customer groups of FIFA

•provision of related services to FIFA and its customer groups prior to and during the above-mentioned competitions related to and including the 2018 FIFA World Cup™.

MATCH Hospitality AG

Founded in 2007, MATCH Hospitality AG is a major player in the sports hospitality arena, delivering turnkey solutions to clients in the areas of sales and operations. MATCH Hospitality has created a global network of Sales Agents which offers sports event owners/rights holders unprecedented worldwide access to customers wishing to purchase hospitality products. MATCH Hospitality has the expertise and experience to deliver both the catering and production elements at major events and is responsible for the entire operation of the FIFA Hospitality Programme.

The company is based in Zurich with offices in Moscow, Manchester, London, Johannesburg and Rio de Janeiro and the shareholders are BH Hospitality Limited, Dentsu Inc., Klaus-Peter Kofler and Winterhill Hospitality Limited.

FIFA appointed MATCH Hospitality as the worldwide exclusive rights holder of the FIFA Hospitality Programme including the FIFA Confederations Cup South Africa 2009 and the 2010 FIFA World Cup South Africa™, the FIFA Women’s World Cup Germany 2011™, the FIFA Confederations Cup 2013, the 2014 FIFA World Cup Brazil™ and the FIFA Women’s World Cup 2015™. On 1 November 2011, FIFA and MATCH Hospitality announced an extension to the appointment for the 2018 and 2022 FIFA World Cups™, as well as for the FIFA Confederations Cups in 2017 and 2021 and the FIFA Women’s World Cups™ in 2019 and 2023. The appointment encompasses both the sale of hospitality packages on an exclusive worldwide basis and the operations of the FIFA Hospitality Programme.

MATCH Hospitality is the only company worldwide that is officially authorised by FIFA to offer and guarantee exclusive hospitality packages for every match of the FIFA World Cup™, directly or through its appointed sales agents.

MATCH Hospitality also offers a range of product for other world class sporting events including the Barclays ATP World Tour Finals and the Formula One Paddock Club™.