Whelan to continue working

  • Last Updated: July 8 2014, 17:13 BST

Ray Whelan, the English director of FIFA's ticket and accommodation partner MATCH who was arrested as part of an investigation into illegal ticket sales, will be allowed to continuing working at the World Cup in Brazil after being released from custody.

Ray Whelan: Released from a police station in Rio de Janeiro on Tuesday
Ray Whelan: Released from a police station in Rio de Janeiro on Tuesday

Whelan was released from a police station in Rio de Janeiro on Tuesday morning after bail was posted of 5,000 US dollars (£2,900) and he agreed to surrender his passport.

The prosecutor in charge of the case has told Brazilian media he was unhappy at the decision to release Whelan, the former agent of Sir Bobby Charlton.

Whelan was arrested in a blaze of publicity on Monday at the Copacabana Palace in Rio de Janeiro, the hotel where all the top FIFA executives are staying. Police said 82 World Cup tickets were taken from his room.

Police have described him as the "facilitator" who allowed a large ring of touts to have access to tickets.

MATCH said in a statement it has complete confidence in Whelan's innocence and that he would continue to work on its World Cup operations.

"MATCH have complete faith that the facts will establish that he has not violated any laws," it said.

"MATCH will continue to fully support all police investigations, which we firmly believe will fully exonerate Ray. In the meantime, Ray Whelan, as well as the rest of the MATCH personnel, will continue to work on our operational areas of responsibility in order to deliver a successful 2014 FIFA World Cup Brazil."

The MATCH group is run by Mexican brothers Jaime and Enrique Byrom, and has FIFA contracts to run accommodation, tickets, hospitality and IT services at the World Cup.

FIFA said Whelan was involved in MATCH's accommodation arm, not tickets or hospitality.

Delia Fischer, head of media for the world governing body, told a news conference in Rio: "Ray Whelan is not involved in ticketing services.

"He was released this morning and we need to see what is unfolding, but he is not involved with ticketing services.

"He is a suspect but we need to see what exactly is the reason where the tickets are coming from and what they were used for.

"We cannot jump to conclusions, we need to confirm on any wrongdoings. We have a firm stance on any violations and they will be sanctioned."

The arrest came as part of Operation Jules Rimet, Brazil police's investigation into ticket touting which has seen detectives tap phones, make a total of 12 arrests and seize a number of tickets.

Rio police said they had evidence of calls and messages between Lamine Fofana, the Algerian man arrested earlier this week, and Whelan.

Marcos Kac, the prosecutor in charge of the case, told Sao Paul newspaper Estadao the decision to release Whelan was "absurd" and added: "We are all very upset."