World Cup tickets in illegal sale may be cancelled

FIFA World Cup Brazil 2014 self-service ticketing machines, taken on April 18, 2014 in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
FIFA World Cup Brazil 2014 self-service ticketing machines, taken on April 18, 2014 in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil (AFP Photo/Yasuyoshi Chiba)

Rio de Janeiro (AFP) - The company that sells World Cup packages warned Monday that it may cancel tickets for the semi-finals and final which are in the name of firms linked to an illegal ticket touting probe.

Match Hospitality, the company authorized by FIFA to sell deluxe packages, identified four companies whose names appeared on tickets seized last week in a police raid against an international ticket touts ring.

Match Hospitality said it had cancelled all the tickets purchased by Atlanta Sportif, the firm run by Franco-Algerian Mohamadou Lamine Fofana, who was arrested last week and named as a central figure in the network.

Lamine's company had bought 105 packages for seven games worth $121,750, Match Hospitality said in a statement.

Match Hospitality said it was blocking the packages of Reliance Industries Limited, Jet Set Sports and Pamodzi Sports, and warned that it would "cancel their tickets for the Semi-final and the Final" unless they cooperate in the investigation.

Reliance Industries bought 304 packages for 19 matches worth $1.2 million, including access to a private suite for all games in Rio, Sao Paolo and Belo Horizonte. Match Hospitality said 59 tickets seized last week had the company's name on them.

One ticket was imprinted with the name Jet Set Sports, which purchased 40 packages for two games worth $108,250. The package had been allocated to an individual who resides in Australia, Match Hospitality said, without naming the person.

Another ticket had the name Pamodzi, which secured 350 packages for 18 games -- including private suites and business seats - worth more than $1.2 million.

Match Hospitality, whose packages include private suites, gourmet catering and gifts, said none of its employees have been implicated in the case so far.

Brazilian investigators believe an individual from FIFA staying at a hotel in Rio was involved in the scandal, providing thousands of tickets going back to 2002.

Investigators said they believed the ring sold at least 1,000 tickets per game with a basic price of 1,000 euros ($1,365).