Brazilian police issue warrant for Marcus Evans’ arrest over Olympic ticket scam
20 August ~ Following an Ipswich v Norwich derby, the Suffolk police usually release a statement to the local press giving the (often surprisingly low) number of people who have been arrested at the game. This Sunday’s fixture carries the unusual possibility that one of those having their collar felt may be the owner of the home club.
Marcus Evans, rarely seen in person at Portman Road but whose company logo is ubiquitous at the ground, is estimated by the Sunday Times Rich List to be worth £765 million. His company, the Marcus Evans Group, has a number of interests, including Ipswich Town and a company called THG Sports.
The latter has recently attracted the attention of the Brazilian police – investigators in Rio believe that THG has been involved in an Olympics ticket scam “that involved the illegal selling of tickets at prices well above face value, under the camouflage of hospitality packages”.
Officials of an associated firm, Pro 10 – including Patrick Hickey, president of the Olympic Council of Ireland and the European Olympic Committees – have already been nicked. Detective Ricardo Barbosa told reporters: “Tickets that were passed on to committees were resold by them at higher prices through companies created by them and their partners.”
Barbosa has issued an arrest warrant for Evans and has said that he has alerted Interpol, thus offering the intriguing prospect of Sky Sports accidentally televising the execution of an international arrest warrant as part of their pre-match build-up.
Evans’ activities have attracted media scrutiny before, but this is the first time that any law enforcers are known to have become interested. It’s shone an unwanted spotlight on a man who rarely appears in public, and whose stewardship of Ipswich Town has sometimes been similarly mysterious.
Supporters may have been surprised by the news from Rio, but it won’t have distracted Mick McCarthy from preparing his team for a tough-looking fixture. Ipswich haven’t beaten Norwich since 2009, and our opponents have won the last four league meetings, as well as a play-off semi-final in 2015. Contrary to popular wisdom, the form book has shown no signs of defenestrating itself with regard to this local derby in recent years.
Norwich look a much stronger proposition going into Sunday’s game, having retained most of last season’s squad, and with the likes of Robbie Brady and Wes Hoolahan fresh from impressive displays in Euro 2016. Ipswich, meanwhile, are once again without the services of injury-prone frontman David McGoldrick.
Town will be difficult to beat but it’s hard to see where a win might come from. Marcus Evans will be hoping that the only unexpected action takes place on, rather than off, the pitch. Gavin Barber
Photo by Simon Gill/WSC Photography: The Ipswich mascot drums up support outside a Marcus Evans-emblazoned Portman road in 2012