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World Cup Final Tickets Blocked as Police Probe Scalping

The Swiss agency overseeing World Cup corporate hospitality tickets said it blocked semifinal and final packages bought by three companies and canceled those of another amid a Brazilian police investigation into VIP ticket scalping.

Match Hospitality AG said in a statement that it is suspending tickets acquired by Reliance Industries Ltd., Jet Set Sports and Pamodzi Sports “pending further investigations” after entries containing their names were seized by police. The Zurich-based agency canceled tickets acquired by another company, Atlanta Sportif Management.

FIFA requested the investigation on evidence that some hospitality packages were being illegally resold, according to the statement.

Together, the four companies bought tickets valued at $2.7 million for the World Cup, Match said, adding they agreed to “strict” terms of distribution. It didn’t specify how many of the tickets were for the semifinals and final. The semifinals start tomorrow when Brazil plays Germany in Belo Horizonte. Argentina faces the Netherlands the following day. The final is on July 13 in Rio de Janeiro.

“We sold all our tickets in Nigeria,” Pamodzi spokesman Mike Itemuagbor said in a phone interview, adding that the company gives clients the same conditions it received. “We didn’t sell in Brazil. For some reason, some clients may decide to resell their tickets, we don’t know. We’re not in control of that.”

Blocked Tickets

The blocked tickets were found with unauthorized people while the others are under investigation, he said.

Tushar Pania, a spokesman for Mumbai-based Reliance Industries, said he couldn’t immediately comment. Tucker, Georgia-based Atlanta Sportif didn’t immediately respond to a phone message and e-mail seeking comment. Jet Set Sports didn’t immediately reply to an e-mail for comment. A receptionist at the company’s office said she couldn’t comment

Match said if Reliance, Jet Set and Pamodzi and their customers don’t cooperate with the police investigation, the semifinal and final tickets they bought will also be canceled. Police in Rio arrested 11 people last week in connection with their investigation called “Operation Jules Rimet” after the World Cup trophy Brazil won in 1970.

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