By DAN KARELL
Brazilian police have reason to believe that a FIFA official is involved in a ticket scalping operation at the World Cup.
Rio de Janeiro police inspector Fabio Barucke said that someone staying at the same hotel as all the FIFA executives at the World Cup is being investigated in a scalping ring after 11 people were arrested earlier this week. One of them, Mohamadou Lamine Fofana, who was thought to be the head of the operation, was dubbed by Barucke as a “middleman” and was getting tickets for matches to sell from someone higher up on the food chain.
“He (Lamine Fofana) has tickets from hospitality, from MATCH, and he was close friends with someone from FIFA who was in the middle of that negotiation — who was helping out with that negotiation,” Barucke told the AP. “We were able to identify there is the participation of someone from FIFA.”
According to the AP story, Barucke said that the ticket operation were making $455,000 per game and that in the past they had made close to $91 million in past World Cups. The operation had used travel agencies to sell tickets way above face value. Selling tickets above face value is illegal in Brazil.
Here are some more stories to start off your Friday:
RODRIGUEZ SEES HIS VALUE SKYROCKET
It would be hard to argue against James Rodriguez being the star player of the World Cup so far.
The Colombian playmaker has scored five goals and added two assists so far in four games at the World Cup, with Colombia winning all of them, driving his transfer value through the roof. According to reports in Spain, Real Madrid are interested in signing the 22-year-old, but AS Monaco won’t sell Rodriguez for anything less than €75 million.
Spanish publication Marca claims that Real Madrid president Florentino Perez would only pay €50-60 million, leaving a large gap in the two side’s transfer demands.
Last summer, Monaco paid €45 million to sign Rodriguez from FC Porto, and Rodriguez went on to score 10 goals and add 12 assists in 32 games in all competitions.
MANDZUKIC ON HIS WAY TO ATLETICO
Atletico Madrid are closing in on a big, physical forward to be a replacement for Diego Costa.
According to reports in Croatia, Atletico Madrid have made an €18 million offer for Bayern Munich forward Mario Mandzukic, who is free to leave the club after Bayern signed Robert Lewandowski this summer. Bayern have asked Atletico for €25 million but the reports state that Bayern could be willing to accept Atletico’s offer.
Atletico are going after Mandzukic after being rebuffed by Manchester City for Alvaro Negredo and being told that Negredo would only be sold for €30 million.
FIFA will meet with Barcelona on Aug. 19 to discuss the transfer ban that has been appealed and lifted for the time being. (REPORT)
Turkish youngster Hakan Calhanoglu is set to complete a €14 million move to Bayer Leverkusen. (REPORT)
South Korea have retained Hong Myung-bo to remain as the head coach of the national team through the 2015 Asian Cup. (REPORT)
Liverpool have had a £20 million bid for Southampton defender Dejan Lovren rejected. (REPORT)
Valencia have hired former Portuguese goalkeeper Nuno to be their new head coach. (REPORT)
What do you think of these reports? Do you believe someone in FIFA was making money off ticket scalping? Do you see James remaining at Monaco next season? How do you see Mandzukic settling in at Atletico Madrid?
Share your thoughts below.