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Volume 6 No. 216

International Football

FIFA partner firm Match Hospitality "has defended" CEO Ray Whelan "after his arrest by Brazilian police investigating the illegal sale of World Cup tickets," according to the BBC. Match said in a statement it expected Whelan to be "exonerated." Whelan "was arrested in Rio de Janeiro on Monday." He "was released after questioning." His lawyer, Fernando Fernandes, said his arrest was "illegal and absurd." Whelan "remains a suspect in the case.'' His lawyers told local media that they "had voluntarily surrendered his passport" (BBC, 7/8). A statement released by Match read, "Match have complete faith that the facts will establish that he has not violated any laws. Match will continue to fully support all police investigations, which we firmly believe will fully exonerate Ray. In the meantime, Ray Whelan, as well as the rest of the Match personnel, will continue to work on our operational areas of responsibility in order to deliver a successful 2014 FIFA World Cup Brazil" (SKY SPORTS, 7/8). In N.Y., Jelmayer & Kiernan reported Whelan was released from jail after paying a "symbolic" bail of around $2,250. A police spokesperson said Whelan left jail around 5am local time and added that a judge had ordered Whelan's release "under principles of habeas corpus." Whelan "was apprehended in front of dozens of journalists at Rio's luxurious oceanfront Copacabana Palace hotel Monday." Rio police said Monday that the evidence against Whelan "included 82 tickets to World Cup games found in his hotel room." Fernandes said all the tickets "were issued in the name of either Mr. Whelan or his family members." Fernandes: "This arrest by the police is a media stunt. There's no proof against Raymond" (WALL STREET JOURNAL, 7/8). FIFA spokesperson Delia Fischer said the organization “takes note” of Whelan’s arrest and that it continues to cooperate with the investigation (AFP, 7/8).

INDIA'S RELIANCE INVESTIGATES: The AFP reported India’s largest private company, Reliance Industries, said Tuesday that it "was investigating how costly World Cup tickets it had bought ended up on the Brazilian black market." Match Hospitality said that 59 tickets bearing Reliance’s name "were found." The firm said, “We at Reliance always comply with all rules and regulations and are unaware of any such incident. We are investigating the same.” Reliance "identified the company through which it had bought the tickets as Octagon but said it was unable to divulge further details about them, such as where they were located." Reliance said, “We have appointed them [Octagon] as our agents to buy some hospitality packages. They have been handling the tickets and the packages” (AFP, 7/8).

FIFA rejected Brazil’s request to "allow suspended captain Thiago Silva to face Germany" in the semifinals as it "angrily hit back at claims referees had been ordered to take a lenient approach to foul play," according to the AFP. A statement from FIFA's disciplinary committee "dismissed Brazil's plea for Silva out of hand, stating there was 'no legal basis' for the defender's yellow card against Colombia to be rescinded." In a further snub, FIFA disciplinary chiefs "also ignored the growing clamour in Brazil for Colombian defender Juan Camilo Zuniga to face retrospective punishment over the aerial challenge that ended Neymar's tournament." The statement said that the committee "deeply regrets the incident and the serious consequences on Neymar's health." But a statement said that Zuniga "could not be punished because the incident in last Friday's stormy quarter-final had been seen by the match officials" (AFP, 7/8). IANS reported Barcelona said that "its doctor will be travelling to Brazil to check on Neymar's fitness." Barcelona Sporting Dir Andoni Zubizarreta said, "We are in direct contact with the Brazilian confederation's doctors. We know he is at home and stable" (IANS, 7/8).

German car manufacturers BMW, Daimler and Volkswagen "will stop production and release late-shift workers early in many of their plants due to the World Cup semifinal between Germany and Brazil on Tuesday." In places where this is not possible, shifts "will be switched and production will run with only minimal staff to make sure no football fan has to suffer" (SID, 7/8). ... The biggest public viewing event in the German state of North Rhine-Westphalia "has been canceled due to persistent rain." Close to 16,000 spectators "who wanted to watch the game in Bochum's Westpark have now to find an alternative" (SID, 7/8). ... F1 CEO Bernie Ecclestone and his wife Fabiana Flosi were "divided when it comes to the Germany-Brazil matchup." Brazilian native Flosi cheered for the Seleção, while Ecclestone cheered for Germany. He said, "I'm for Germany." Germany won the match 7-1 to advance to the finals (SID, 7/8).