RIO DE JANEIRO: Latest twist in the ongoing World Cup tickets saga is that FIFA partner Match has disputed claims that executive consultant Ray Whelan is “a fugitive” as described by the investigations office last night. Adding to the ongoing confusion, however, is an admission by the ticketing and hospitality service company, that it has not spoken to Whelan or his lawyer.

Statement as follows:

Following the latest developments as part of Operação Jules Rimet, MATCH can state the following at this point in time:

Mr Ray Whelan and his attorney Mr Fernando Fernandes left Copacabana Palace Hotel on 10 July prior to the arrival of the police. The CCTV images of the internal hotel surveillance system distributed to the media show that Mr Whelan did not rush from the hotel. Police arrived thereafter, and finding Mr Whelan was not there, simply requested that he present himself at the 18th Precinct.

MATCH must emphasise its understanding that the terms of Ray Whelan’s previous release did not restrict Ray Whelan’s movements, provided he stayed within Brazil. We do not believe that the term “fugitive” is appropriate under the circumstances as he is presently with his lawyer.  We understand that any accused in Brazil has the fundamental right to resist a coercion that he believes to be arbitrary and illegal.

Mr Whelan’s lawyers submitted an injunction to revoke the arrest order during the course of last night, which was denied, but we understand that Mr Whelan’s lawyers will today submit their request for reconsideration of that decision.

Contrary to various reports in the media Mr Whelan was not summoned to return to the 18th Precinct on 8 July, nor was he asked to remain at the Copacabana Palace Hotel pending further enquiries following his initial release.

MATCH has not yet had the opportunity to speak to Mr Fernando Fernandes or Ray Whelan since they left the hotel and therefore cannot comment as to the circumstances.

Ray Whelan has not yet been granted the due process of a fair trial. MATCH remains absolutely confident that any charges raised against Ray will be rebutted.

Tickets included in Hospitality Packages do not have a price imprinted on the Ticket.  The rationale for this is that ALL Tickets included in a Hospitality Package are sold as an integral part of various additional services.

The resale prohibition provided under the MATCH Hospitality Sales Regulations is a commercial term imposed by MATCH Hospitality to protect its commercial rights. The resale of a Ticket inclusive Hospitality Package by MATCH Hospitality is not illegal; it is simply not permissible without the consent of MATCH Hospitality. Furthermore, there is nothing inappropriate or illegal about Ray Whelan supporting the Match Hospitality sales operation, even though his primary role was in relation to MATCH Accommodation. MATCH has already explained in detail in previous statements what the transaction regarding the Venue Specific ticket-inclusive Hospitality Packages was about.

MATCH remains entirely at the disposal of the officers from the 18th Precinct to assist them in every possible way with their enquiries.