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MATCH rejects Ray Whelan 'fugitive' claims

Hospitality company MATCH has issued a strongly worded rebuttal of police claims that its chief executive, Ray Whelan, had become a "fugitive".

Police in Rio de Janeiro said Mr Whelan, who was arrested earlier this week as part of an investigation into alleged World Cup ticket touting, had left his hotel before officers came to re-arrest him.

But MATCH insisted there was no evidence Mr Whelan had deliberately evaded the police, saying: "Mr Ray Whelan and his attorney Mr Fernando Fernandes left Copacabana Palace Hotel on 10 July prior to the arrival of the police."

Police released this CCTV footage of Ray Whelan, wearing a light blue shirt, in his Rio hotel.

"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," the statement continued.

The company also said it understood the terms of Mr Whelan's initial release from custody did not restrict his movements, "provided he stayed in Brazil".

MATCH added that Mr Whelan's lawyers have sought to revoke the order for his arrest.

Brazilian police release CCTV of 'fugitive' Ray Whelan

Brazilian police have released CCTV of Ray Whelan, a British national they say is "now considered a fugitive".

Whelan, who was arrested as part of a World Cup ticketing investigation earlier this week, is seen in the footage at the Copacabana Palace hotel in Rio de Janeiro.

Police say they arrived with an arrest warrant to take Whelan back into custody but they could not find him at the hotel.

The footage shows Whelan, wearing a light blue shirt, walking through a security gate accompanied by his lawyer before sitting down at an exit.

Previously Whelan's lawyer described his client's arrest as "illegal and absurd".

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Neymar claims challenge could have paralysed him

Brazilian striker Neymar tearfully claimed to reporters he could have been paralysed after his World Cup injury.

An emotional Neymar broke down as he spoke of Colombian Juan Zuniga's challenge, saying, "If it had been another two centimetres I could be in a wheelchair today."

Brazilian striker Neymar cries during a press conference as he discusses his injury. Credit: REUTERS/Marcelo Regua

"The challenge and what happened was unacceptable. I'm not going to say it was vicious and there was malice or intent because I can't speak for him but everybody who understands football, everybody, knows that was not a normal challenge," he said.

"I feel was blessed because it wasn't more serious," the footballer added.

Neymar revealed he will be supporting Argentina in Sunday's World Cup final against Germany.

Whelan's firm 'totally committed' to helping police

Match, the company British 'fugitive' Ray Whelan works for, have said they remain 'totally committed' to helping Brazilian police with their investigation into illegal World Cup tickets.

A statement from chief executive Jaime Byrom said: "Notwithstanding our belief that the action taken against Mr Whelan was illegal and baseless.

"Match Services and I personally remain totally committed to assist the authorities or any other jurisdiction in Fifa's fight against illegal ticket sales."

Police first arrested Mr Whelan, a former agent to Sir Bobby Charlton, on Monday after seizing 83 hospitality packages and tickets, a laptop, two mobile phones and 1,300 US dollars.

Match admitted that offering the packages for cash was "highly unusual", but said it was "permitted under the various terms and conditions".

Brit in World Cup tickets probe now a 'fugitive'

Ray Whelan from Match Hospitality was arrested in Rio de Janeiro on Monday but was later released. Credit: RTV

Police in Brazil have declared British Fifa partner Ray Whelan a 'fugitive' after he allegedly fled before they could re-arrest him.

Officers arrived at the Copacabana Palace hotel with an arrest warrant, but Mr Whelan was not there.

Rio police investigator Fabio Barucke told reporters outside the hotel: "He's now considered a fugitive. We have security camera images of him exiting the hotel through a service door."

Mr Whelan from Match Hospitality was arrested in Rio de Janeiro on Monday but was later released on the terms he could not leave the country.

Sir Mick Jagger denies being Brazil's World Cup jinx

Despite being branded a jinx after Brazil's crushing World Cup semi-final defeat, Sir Mick Jagger has refused to take the blame.

Sir Mick, who was pictured at the Mineirao stadium with his son Lucas, looked on as the host nation was beaten 7-1 by Germany.

Brazil fans smile before the World Cup semi-final in which they lost 7-1 to Germany, Credit: Mike Egerton/PA Wire/Press Association Images

But the Rolling Stones frontman told The Sun (£), "I can take the blame for the first German goal ... but not the other six!"

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Fans wearing Neymar masks gather ahead of semi-final

Fans wearing Neymar masks have gathered in Belo Horizonte ahead of Brazil's World Cup semi-final against Germany.

The 22-year-old striker, who scored four goals in Brazil's journey to the semi-finals, was ruled out of the tournament after suffering a fractured vertebrae in the last eight win against Colombia.

Millions of people are expected to watch the match as two of the game's biggest powers go head to head for a place in Sunday's final.

Brazil fans wearing a Neymar masks inside the Estadio Mineirao. Credit: PA Wire
Brazil are hoping to keep their World Cup dreams alive. Credit: PA Wire
A Brazil fan poses with a replica World Cup trophy. Credit: PA Wire

For all the build-up to tonight's semi-final, visit ITV's World Cup site

Brit arrested in World Cup ticket probe is released

An English director of Fifa's hospitality partners - Match - who was arrested as part of an investigation into illegal World Cup ticket sales has been released without charge.

Ray Whelan was arrested in Brazil on Monday. Credit: Reuters

Ray Whelan, previously an agent for Sir Bobby Charlton, was arrested yesterday at the Copacabana Palace in Rio de Janeiro - the hotel used by Fifa officials during the World Cup.

He was detained for questioning after the earlier arrests of 11 people, including Algerian national Lamine Fofana.

Today police let him go but he is still not allowed to leave Brazil.

His lawyer Fernando Fernandes told reporters his arrest was "illegal and absurd".

Match said in a statement that it has complete confidence in Mr Whelan's innocence. "Match have complete faith that the facts will establish that he has not violated any laws," it said.

Brit arrested in World Cup ticket touting probe

An English director of Fifa's hospitality partners Match has been arrested in Brazil as part of an investigation into illegal ticket sales.

Ray Whelan, previously an agent for Sir Bobby Charlton, was arrested at the Copacabana Palace in Rio de Janeiro, the hotel reserved for senior executives of Fifa.

Ray Whelan from Match Hospitality was arrested in Rio de Janeiro. Credit: RTV

The arrest came as part of Operation Jules Rimet - an investigation by Brazilian police into ticket touting - which has seen detectives tap phones, arrest 12 people and seize a number of tickets.

A spokesman for the Rio de Janeiro State Security Secretariat confirmed Whelan was in custody and would spend the night in a Rio police station.

Earlier, Match Hospitality announced it had blocked sales to four companies after tickets were seized from touts by Brazilian police.

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