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Police search for Brit arrested in touting probe

Brazilian police claim a British man arrested as part of an investigation into World Cup ticket touting has fled officers coming to re-arrest him at his Rio hotel.

Ray Whelan is alleged to have been involved in selling on tickets to games at hugely inflated prices.

Read: Brit arrested in World Cup ticket touting probe

However his legal team reject the accusations and his company, MATCH, say he will be cleared.

They have also issued a statement rejecting police claims that Whelan is a "fugitive".

ITV News Brazil Correspondent Nick Ravenscroft reports from Rio de Janeiro.

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.

Read: Brazilian police release CCTV of 'fugitive' Ray Whelan

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.

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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.

Read: Brit arrested in World Cup ticket touting probe

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".

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.
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.

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, left, being arrested in Brazil on Monday.
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.

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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.
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.

Fifa grandee's son in World Cup ticket scandal

The son of a Fifa grandee has become embroiled in a World Cup ticket scandal.

Humberto Grondona, the son of Argentina's senior Fifa vice-president Julio Grondona, has admitted to selling on tickets to a friend contrary to the world governing body's regulations.

Julio Grondona, Argentina's senior Fifa vice-president.
Julio Grondona, Argentina's senior Fifa vice-president. Credit: Maxi Failla/Press Association Images

The tickets were among those seized by Brazilian police as part of a ticket touting investigation which led to the arrests of 11 people.

Fifa's head of media Delia Fischer would not comment on the investigation, but said that if anyone was found to have breached regulations they would face disciplinary action.

Maradona blasts Fifa for drug-testing Costa Ricans

Diego Maradona has accused Fifa of targeting Costa Rica after seven of their players were subjected to drug tests following their famous 1-0 win over Italy.

Costa Rica's players celebrate after their 1-0 win against Italy. Credit: Reuters

Two players from each team are required to undergo tests following each match at the World Cup, but the governing body ordered five extra Costa Ricans to be tested after Friday's win which sealed their progress to the last 16.

"Why test seven players from Costa Rica and not seven from Italy?" Maradona, who was sent home from the 1994 World Cup after failing a drugs test, said.

"This is only happening because some people are annoyed Costa Rica, and not the big teams, are going through, and so the sponsors won't pay what they'd promised."

Costa Rica's manager Jorge Luis Pinto also reacted furiously, claiming his players were being punished for their constant running through games.

Read: Costa Rican fans celebrate stunning World Cup win

Fifa 'deeply saddened' by Nigeria bombing

The Fifa statement follows the killing of 13 people as they watched the Brazil v Mexico World Cup match in Damaturu, Nigeria:

We are deeply saddened by the tragic incident in Nigeria. Our sincere condolences for the families of the victims, and the friends. Fifa definitely condemns any form of violence.

– Delia Fischer, Fifa's Head of Media

Read: Nigeria team 'more determined' after bombing

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