Eyes Squarely on FIFA Now After Arrest of Ticket Provider

The World Cup is over, and its domination over the news (and our lives) is slowly coming to end. But one World Cup issue continues — a probe into FIFA’s official ticket provider, Match, after the recent arrest of the company’s top executive, Ray Whelan.

On July 7, Whelan was arrested along with 11 other British nationals at the luxury hotel Copacabana Palace in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. The group is accused of illegally selling World Cup VIP tickets and hospitality packages on the black market at inflated prices. Whelan denies any criminal involvement.

Of the three million tickets made available at this year’s World Cup, 445,000 were allocated to Match clients. Match, which has exclusive rights to sell the tickets, is owned by Byrom, a company founded by Mexican brothers Enrique and Jaime Byrom.

Brazilian investigators allege FIFA’s policy of giving its members World Cup tickets can sometimes end up with the tickets being sold on the black market.

“We have information that there was a market for scalping inside the Copacabana Palace,” according to Brazilian police investigator Fabio Barucke.

At the time of our reporting, we reached out to Match for comment but did not receive a response.A Byrom spokesperson told Univision the brothers are not targets of the investigation and are cooperating with Brazilian authorities.For now, Match is contracted to continue providing ticketing service at the 2018 and 2022 World Cups.