Fifa official linked to ticket ring - police

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IOL pic july4 world cup tickets in hand AFP Tickets for the 2014 Fifa World Cup in Brazil. Picture: AFP

Rio de Janeiro - Police in Rio de Janeiro on Thursday said they identified a Fifa official they allege helped a group of suspected scalpers in efforts to illegally re-sell World Cup tickets, including some originally allocated to players.

During an investigation that earlier this week led to the arrest of a ring of 11 suspected ticket touts, police said they had identified the first name of the alleged Fifa official from telephone calls.

The suspected official, said Fabio Barucke, a Rio police investigator in charge of the case, enjoys clearance for Fifa offices, stadiums and other administrative areas where he would have access to game tickets.

The official, Barucke added, is not Brazilian and is in the country only because of the World Cup.

Fifa said in a statement late on Thursday it planned to analyse the resold tickets that had been seized by police and would assist Brazilian authorities in identifying their source.

Lamine Fofana, a French-Algerian national police have said they suspect to be the head of the scalping ring, was never accredited for the Fifa World Cup nor had any access to any official car pool, the statement said.

A spokeswoman for Fifa said earlier on Thursday that the organisation, soccer's governing body, had yet to receive any information from police identifying the Fifa official who allegedly helped the ring.

Given the number of third-parties that operate in and around the World Cup, she added, the person may not even be employed by Fifa.

“Maybe it's not from Fifa,” said Delia Fischer, the spokeswoman, to reporters on Thursday. “It's often easy to come to a conclusion about who is Fifa.”

The Fifa statement declined further comment, saying proceedings were ongoing.

The group, police said, aimed to make up to 200 million reais ($90.5 million) by illegally re-selling tickets. - Reuters

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