Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : July 9th 2014 Contents A73
Wednesday, July 9, 2014 www.guardian.co.tt Guardian
RIO DE JANEIRO---A World Cup corporate
hospitality executive suspected of involvement
with a ticket-scalping ring was released from
police custody early yesterday and returned
Ray Whelan, of the Match group of com-
panies, was arrested Monday at the Copacabana
Palace in Rio de Janeiro, the hotel used by Fifa
officials during the World Cup.
Police have described Whelan as the "facil-
itator" who allowed a large ring of scalpers to
have access to tickets, which they re-sold at
vastly inflated prices. Reselling tickets for profit
is illegal in Brazil.
Whelan was arrested in his luxury suite where
police said they confiscated 82 tickets for
upcoming matches, along with Whelan s com-
puter, cellphone and other unspecified docu-
His attorney, Fernando Fernandes, told
reporters his arrest was "illegal and absurd."
Whelan will not be allowed to leave Brazil
during the tournament.
Asked if Whelan s accreditation for the World
Cup would be revoked, Fifa spokeswoman Delia
Fischer said the sport s international governing
body couldn t act until he had received the full
report from police.
"We need all the proof," Fischer told a news
briefing. "We want the matter solved quickly
and investigated to its fullest extent."
Under Brazilian law, the 64-year-old Whelan
may only be charged by prosecutors after they
receive the complete police investigation, which
officers have 30 days to complete.
Whelan was detained for questioning after
the earlier arrests of 11 people, including Algerian
national Mohamadou Lamine Fofana.
Police said Whelan was heard on wiretapped
phone calls negotiating ticket prices with Fofana,
who was accused of being the ringleader of the
Match said in a statement it has complete
confidence in Whelan s innocence and that he
would return to work.
It said in the statement it has "complete faith
that the facts will establish that (Whelan) has
not violated any laws."
Whelan is a longstanding executive with the
Match group, which is based in England and
run by Mexican brothers Jaime and Enrique
Byrom. He has represented the company at
events such as Soccerex.
Match has Fifa contracts to run accommo-
dation, ticketing and IT services at the World
The Match Hospitality subsidiary, which is
based in Zurich, paid US$120 million for exclu-
sive rights to sell and market more than
400,000 corporate hospitality packages for this
In 2011, Fifa extended Match Hospitality s
exclusive rights through the 2018 and 2022
World Cups, including the Confederations Cup
and Women s World Cups.
"The deal for the entire period covers a finan-
cial guarantee for Fifa of $300 million as well
as a profit share," the governing body said when
the deal was announced.
It hailed that deal as one which "further
strengthens Fifa s fight against ticket touts."
The Byrom brothers holding company is the
major shareholder in Match Hospitality. A 5
per cent stake is held by Switzerland-based
agency Infront Sports and Media.
MADRID---Thousands of football
fan queued for hours in midsummer
heat yesterday to pay their respects
and mourn the death of Real Madrid
great Alfredo Di Stefano.
Queues several hundred yards
(metres) long formed around the
Santiago Bernabeu Stadium before
doors opened at 10.30 am to allow
mourners to file past Di Stefano s
casket, that was draped in club col-
ors.The line was still almost as long
at 8 pm, an hour before the
impromptu chapel-of-rest was due
to close, when King Felipe VI arrived
to honor the memory of the club s
"He was an unrepeatable and
unique figure in world football---and
an extraordinary personality," said
Felipe, adding that he had always
admired Di Stefano.
The king greeted, shook hands
with, and spoke to dozens of mourn-
ers in the queue as he arrived, and
again when he left.
Di Stefano, who helped shape and
cement Madrid s reputation as the
most successful club in European
football, died on Monday aged 88,
two days after suffering heart failure
in a street near the stadium.
Renowned for his speed, versatility
and strategic grasp of the game, Di
Stefano helped Madrid attain five
straight European Champions Cups
and was voted European player of
the year twice.
Among sports personalities who
visited was club goalkeeper and Spain
captain Iker Casillas. Former Madrid
player Paco Gento, 80, who played
alongside Di Stefano during his 1953-
1971 spell at the club, said the Argen-
tine was the most complete player
he had ever known. "Everything he
did was great, the club owes him a
lot," Gento said.
Johan Cruyff was among dozens
of sports personalities to express
admiration for Di Stefano.
"He was my idol," Cruyff said in
a radio interview on Cadena Cope.
"He was a player who was every-
where; he played in defense, as a
midfielder, and up front, scoring
Fans jotted down condolences on
a white board provided by the club.
"Thanks for your football, thank you
for making this club great," one entry
said. "As a child I wanted to be like
you. That was impossible. I am 65
years old and you ll always be in my
heart," another said.
Among the mourners was restau-
rant waiter Felipe Escobedo. "He
came into my place of work twice
and was just a nice, regular guy, so
unlike many so-called stars today,"
Di Stefano played five clubs in
three countries---Argentina, Colombia
and Spain---from 1945-1966 and
scored 789 goals in 1,090 matches.
MANCHESTER---Nike has announced its
sponsorship of Manchester United will
end after the 2014-15 season after they
failed to agree on terms for an extension.
Nike says in a statement that "the terms
that were on offer for a renewed contract
did not represent good value for Nike s
The sportswear giant has partnered Unit-
ed for 12 years, and says it hopes for "a
successful final season with the club."
LONDON --- West Ham says it has
signed midfielder Diego Poyet on a
four-year deal. He s the son of Sunder-
land manager Gus Poyet.
Poyet was out of contract at Charlton,
but West Ham agreed to compensate
the second-tier club. Poyet made his
debut for Charlton in January, and after
23 appearances was voted its player of
The 19-year-old Poyet said in a state-
ment on West Ham s website "it was a
no brainer to sign."
He is West Ham s fourth offseason
signing after striker Mauro Zarate, Sene-
gal midfielder Cheikhou Kouyate, and
fullback Aaron Cresswell.
World Cup ticket scalping controversy
released from jail
Ray Whelan, a longstanding director and
project manager within the MATCH group,
arrives at a police station after been arrested,
in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, Monday. AP PHOTO
signs son of
Thousands line up to pay respects to Madrid's Di Stefano
Real Madrid's President Florentino Perez ends his speech in front of a poster of Alfredo Di Stefano in the Santiago
Bernabeu stadium in Madrid, Spain, Monday after football great Alfredo Di Stefano died. He was 88. The former
Argentina forward was hospitalised on Saturday after a heart attack. AP PHOTO
Nike, Man U
to part ways
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