World Cup executive Ray Whelan is a “fugitive” of Brazilian police

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Ray Whelan, executive at FIFA partner Match Services, is considered a fugitive thanks to his connection with the ticket scalping scheme that has blighted the World Cup.

According to Rio de Janeiro investigator Fabio Barucke, Whelan was taken into custody on Monday, but was released on Tuesday morning.

Police arrived at his Copacabana Beach hotel to re-arrest him Thursday, but he had left an hour before they arrived and is on the run.  Police stationed guards at the hotel (pictured).

According to Brazilian police, the Englishman is heavily involved in a World Cup ticket scheme that has ensnared Algerian Lamine Fofana who the police are also looking for.

Match Services is one of the largest FIFA ticket partners, selling hospitality packages to World Cup games. However, the worldwide event has seen a scalping ring rock the country, with 11 already arrested, including Fofana, and four companies stripped of their ticket rights.

“Raymond knew that Fofana was a scalper, he knew that he was going to resell those tickets on the black market,” Barucke told reporters in Rio.

Match has disputed those claims, releasing a statement saying:

“Far from helping to incriminate Mr Whelan, they secured a nationwide audience who clearly heard Mr Whelan conduct a discussion for the possible sale of an official hospitality product. The 24 hospitality packages were offered on cash basis, which is highly unusual but permitted under the various terms and conditions. It must be noted that Mr Whelan was not aware of the fact that Match Hospitality had internally blocked sales to Mr Fofana.”

Normally under Brazilian law, scalping is only punishable by a $225 fine, but Barucke has specifically asked a judge to see the group as a criminal conspiracy, which would carry a possible sentence of significant jail time.

2-year doping ban upheld for Finland, CSKA Moscow player

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LAUSANNE, Switzerland (AP) The Court of Arbitration for Sport has upheld a two-year ban for CSKA Moscow midfielder Roman Eremenko for a positive test for cocaine.

[ MORE: Morata signs five-year contract at Chelsea ]

CAS says the ban imposed by UEFA was “appropriate” and dismissed the Finland international’s appeal.

[ MORE: Vertonghen says Spurs need to “level up” like rest of PL contenders ]

The ban will expire on Oct. 5, 2018, when Eremenko will be 31.

Eremenko tested positive after playing in a Champions League game for CSKA Moscow against Bayer Leverkusen last September. The 2-2 result was not affected despite Eremenko scoring CSKA’s second goal.

Born in Moscow, Eremenko grew up in Finland and has represented its national team 73 times.

Webb says De Jong would have been sent off with video review

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NEW YORK (AP) Howard Webb says he would have given Dutch midfielder Nigel De Jong a red card in the 2010 World Cup final if a video assistant referee had been in place.

The retired English referee showed De Jong a yellow card in the 28th minute for his karate kick into the chest of Spain’s Xabi Alonso. Hired in March to oversee video technology for professional soccer in the U.S. and Canada, Webb held a media seminar Friday ahead of its Aug. 5 launch in Major League Soccer.

Webb says: “Yes, it was a clear red card. It was a clear and obvious error on my part not to send the player off, and VAR would have been able to recommend a review to me, and I would have been able to make the right call.”

Now 46, Webb was a Premier League referee from 2003-14. He worked the Champions League and World Cup finals in 2010, became director of referees at the Saudi Arabian Football Federation, and started in March as manager of video assistant referee operations for the Professional Referee Organization.

MLS Snapshot: Orlando City 0-1 Atlanta United (video)

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The game in 100 words (or less): Friday night’s effort at Orlando City Stadium wasn’t the prettiest for either side but Atlanta United will gladly take three points from the fixture as the Central Florida venue proved to be a fortress once more. The Lions were far superior in their attacking threats throughout the match, testing USMNT and Atlanta goalkeeper Brad Guzan on multiple occasions. However, it was Hector Villalba that proved to be the difference when he blasted a long-distance effort to beat Joe Bendik in the 86th minute. Atlanta extends its unbeaten streak to four matches with Friday’s decision, keeping Tata Martino’s side in fourth place in the Eastern Conference, while Orlando City moves into fifth.

Three moments that mattered

36′ — Guzan stands tall, denies Rivas — Carlos Rivas thought he scorched this one (and he did…), but Brad Guzan acted like it was nothing as he held his ground to make the stop.

39′ — Spector gets ripped off by Guzan — The U.S. goalkeeper is at it again… What a save!

86′ — Villalba unleashes stunner to propel Atlanta — Sometimes it just takes one good hit as a striker.

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Man of the match: Brad Guzan

Goalscorers: Hector Villalba (86′)

Report: Man City adding Mendy to continue backline restoration

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Fresh off of completing a record deal to help bolster the club’s back line this summer, Manchester City is back at it with the Premier League season looming.

[ MORE: Alvaro Morata signs five-year contract at Chelsea ]

The Citizens are reportedly on the brink of signing Monaco left back Benjamin Mendy to yet another world-record fee — which will total over $67 million.

Confirmation of the deal has yet to be announced by either team, but L’Equipe is reporting that the Citizens are hot on the 23-year-old’s trail in adding to their pricy back four.

Manager Pep Guardiola and Man City have not been shy readjusting their defensive unit over the past year, adding expensive first-team choices John Stones and Kyle Walker.