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Jul 14, 2014

Whelan hands himself in to police

Ray Whelan, the English director of FIFA's official ticket and hospitality partners MATCH, is in custody after handing himself in to a judge in Rio de Janeiro several days after being declared "a fugitive'' by police investigating a ticket touting ring.

According to a Rio civil police statement, Whelan presented himself to the chief judge of Rio's 6th criminal chamber, Rosita Maria de Oliveira Netto after which he was re-arrested by police.

Whelan was accompanied by his lawyer, Fernando Fernandes, and told police he had been preparing documents for his defence, according to Brazilian media.

Whelan disappeared from his hotel on Thursday via a service entrance minutes before police investigating illegal World Cup ticket sales arrived to re-arrest him.

His company MATCH last week denied Whelan was "a fugitive'' and said his arrest was illegal. The statement said: "MATCH remains absolutely confident that any charges raised against Ray will be rebutted.''

Police have received recordings of mobile phone conversations between Whelan and an Algerian, Lamine Fofana, who is alleged to be the leader of the ticket touting ring, negotiating the sale of hospitality packages for $25,000 each in cash, totalling $600,000.

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

The BBC has described how the company has been intertwined with FIFA for the past 20 years, since the 1994 World Cup, but has sailed under the radar of your average football fan.

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