Match Services: 'Ray Whelan should not be deemed a fugitive'

FIFA partner company Match Services insists that it is wrong to deem Ray Whelan a "fugitive" after he absconded from his Rio hotel when police tried to re-arrest him.

FIFA partner company Match Services have released a statement claiming that describing chief executive Ray Whelan as a "fugitive" is 'inappropriate'.

The Brit, who used to work as Sir Bobby Charlton's agent, is believed to have absconded from the Copacabana Palace Hotel in Rio de Janeiro after being arrested by Brazilian police earlier this week.

Whelan is one of 11 suspects allegedly involved in a World Cup ticket scam, but was released without charge after being questioned by the authorities.

However, on Thursday, Whelan was being treated as a fugitive, but his company have insisted that he is with his lawyer.

According to BBC Sport journalist Dan Roan, the statement from Match read: "Mr Ray Whelan did not rush from the hotel. We do not believe that the term 'fugitive' is appropriate as he is with his lawyer.

"Mr Whelan's lawyers submitted an injunction to revoke the arrest order which was denied. Match has not yet had opportunity to speak to Ray Whelan (or his lawyer) since they left the hotel, so cannot comment as to circumstances.

"Ray Whelan has not yet been granted the due process of a fair trial. Match remains absolutely confident that any charges will be rebutted."

Whelan previously stated that he was happy to cooperate with the investigation.

A general view of Brazuca and the FIFA World Cup Trophy at the Maracana before the adidas Brazuca launch on December 3, 2013 in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
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