World Cup

Wednesday 23 July 2014

FIFA official implicated in multi-million euro World Cup ticket scandal

Martin Ziegler

Published 04/07/2014|07:58

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FORTALEZA, BRAZIL - JULY 03:  Brazilian football fans crowd outside the gate as their national team arrives for training session at the President Vargas stadium on the eve of the FIFA World Cup 2014 quarter-final match between Brazil and Colombia in Fortaleza on July 3, 2014 in Fortaleza, Brazil.  (Photo by Buda Mendes/Getty Images)
Brazilian football fans crowd outside the gate as their national team arrives for training session at the President Vargas stadium on the eve of the FIFA World Cup 2014 quarter-final match between Brazil and Colombia in Fortaleza

Police in Rio de Janeiro have said a FIFA official is involved in multi-million euro ticket scandal.

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Officers have arrested 11 suspected ticket touts as part of an investigation called Operation Jules Rimet, which has tapped the mobile phones of the suspects.

Fabio Barucke, the police investigator in charge of the case, said a FIFA official who was a source of the tickets had access to FIFA offices and stadiums and match tickets.

Some tickets have been re-sold for eight times their face value.

Investigators are planning to meet FIFA and its official ticket agency MATCH, which sells World Cup hospitality packages.

FIFA's head of media Delia Fischer said it had not received any information from the police identifying the person.

She said: "Maybe it's not from FIFA - it's often easy to come to a conclusion about who is FIFA."

Barucke said the ticketing ring aimed to make up to €75million by illegally re-selling tickets and that the group had operated at previous World Cups.

The suspected ringleader has been named as Mohamadou Lamine Fofana, an Algerian man who was previously staying at the Copacabana Palace hotel, where all the FIFA top executives are staying.

Barucke believes Fofana was the middleman and that the ticket source was "someone higher up" the chain.

He said: "He [Fofana] has tickets from hospitality, from MATCH, and he was close friends with someone from FIFA who was in the middle of that negotiation - who was helping out with that negotiation.

"We were able to identify there is the participation of someone from FIFA."

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