Latin America & Caribbean

Fifa partner's CEO Ray Whelan arrested over ticket scam

Media captionRay Whelan was detained at Copacabana Palace Hotel as Wyre Davies reports

Brazilian police have arrested the chief executive of a Fifa partner company as part of investigations into the illegal sale of World Cup tickets.

Ray Whelan from Match Hospitality was held at the Rio de Janeiro hotel where officials from the world's football governing body were also staying.

He was freed after questioning. Match Hospitality said in a statement that it expected Mr Whelan to be "exonerated".

Last week, police held 11 people over illegal ticket sales.

They are accused of illegally reselling tickets, including some originally allocated to players.

Police say an international gang earned as much as $90m (£52m) per tournament and could have operated at four World Cups.

Computers seized

Mr Whelan, a British national, was arrested at the Copacabana Palace Hotel on Monday.

He was taken for questioning as part of the ongoing police investigation Operation Jules Rimet, and released on Tuesday.

The Switzerland-based Match Hospitality - part of UK sports event manager Byrom based in Cheadle, near Manchester - said on Tuesday that it was assisting the police investigation.

In a statement, the company said it had "complete faith that the facts would establish" that Mr Whelan had not violated any laws.

A statement from Fifa said that it "continues to fully collaborate with the local authorities and will provide any details requested to assist with this ongoing investigation".

"Fifa wants to reiterate as mentioned at various occasions its firm stance against any form of violation of the criminal law and the ticketing regulations, and is fully supporting the security authorities in our joint efforts to clamp down on any unauthorised ticket sales."

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