LONDON: Ray Whelan, the Match executive accused of ‘insider dealing’ on World Cup tickets in Brazil, has been allowed to return to England writes KEIR RADNEDGE.

Whelan, a senior consultant to the Byrom parent company which is a long-time commercial partner of FIFA, was arrested in the closing days of finals.

He was finally released on bail in August on the surrendering of his passport. Now Whelan, who has property in Brazil, has been allowed to return to the UK until at least November 26.

A spokesman for Match, which has been consistent in proclaiming Whelan’s innocence, said he would then return to Rio de Janeiro to answer any court proceedings.

Doubts have arisen over whether proceedings will be pursued given the time which has elapsed since the arrests without any apparent further progress in police investigations.

The tickets scandal burst into the open on July 2 when agents for the civil police and the Public Affairs Ministry raided addresses in Rio and Sao Paulo and arrested 11 men.

Double arrest

Police claimed that the gang had been clearing more than $400,000 per game on tickets sold at up to 10 times their face value.

Subsequently Whelan was also arrested for questioning then freed before being detained again the day after the World Cup Final.

Police took from his room at the Copacabana Palace – FIFA’s World Cup headquarter – around $1,200 in cash plus 83 World Cup tickets. These tickets, Match insisted, were company and family tickets to the final in Maracana.

Company director Jaime Byrom said that the Rio authorities had confused the roles of the two Match companies [wholly-owned Match Services and majority-owned Match Hospitality] and that Whelan had been merely resolving the resale of returned ticket packages between the two.

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