World Cup 2014: British boss of Fifa partner Ray Whelan arrested in Brazil ticket tout probe

The arrest came as part of Operation Jules Rimet, Brazil police's investigation into ticket touting which has seen detectives make 11 arrests last week and break up an international gang

Brazilian police have arrested the British chief executive of a Fifa partner company as part of an investigation into illegal World Cup ticket sales.

Ray Whelan from Match Hospitality was arrested on Monday at the Copacabana Palace in Rio de Janeiro, where officials from the world’s football governing body are also staying.

The arrest came as part of Operation Jules Rimet, Brazil police's investigation into ticket touting which has seen detectives make 11 arrests last week and break up an international gang. That gang is accused of illegally reselling tickets, including some originally understood to have been originally allocated to players.

Police say the gang earned as much as $90m (£52m) per tournament and could have operated at four World Cups. The authorities believe some of the tickets were sold to foreign tourists.

Video: Police arrest British man for illegal World Cup ticket sales

A spokesman for the Rio de Janeiro State Security Secretariat confirmed Mr Whelan was in custody and would spend Monday night in a Rio police station. Match Hospitality is a division of Byrom plc, a company based at Cheadle in Cheshire. Mr Whelan is not an employee of Fifa's but has become well-known in recent years in connection with the group’s Fifa contracts. A few hours before news of the arrest emerged, Match Hospitality announced it had blocked sales to four companies after tickets were seized from touts by Brazilian police.

The four companies are Atlanta Sportif, whose chief executive was one of those arrested in Rio de Janeiro, Reliance Industries Ltd, Jet Set Sports and Pamodzi.

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