Twenty two Britons arrested

  • Last Updated: July 11 2014, 16:42 BST

Britain's ambassador to Brazil has revealed that 22 British nationals were arrested during the course of the World Cup - and almost all for ticket touting.

The arrest figures include Ray Whelan, the English director of FIFA's ticket and hospitality partners MATCH who was declared "a fugitive" by Brazilian police after he disappeared from his hotel minutes before officers attempted to re-arrest him as part of an investigation into illegal ticket sales.

Alex Ellis, the British ambassador, said that consulate officials had offered advice to Whelan when he was initially arrested on Monday, and to put him in touch with an interpreter and a lawyer.

Ellis told Press Association Sport: "The England fans in Brazil have been great. We had some big information campaigns before the World Cup and it seems to have paid off.

"We have had a total of 20,000 fans coming from England at various times and we have only had 22 arrests, and the vast majority of those were for ticket touting."

The British consulate in Rio de Janeiro was called in when Whelan was arrested on Monday, confirmed the ambassador, before the executive was released on bail on Tuesday.

Ellis added: "We offered consular assistance when he was arrested and provided him with a list of lawyers and interpreters. I have see the latest reports from the Brazilian police but they have not been in touch with us."

The British Embassy also issued emergency travel documents to a total of 75 England fans who had had their passports lost or stolen, while the embassy was only notified of 11 fans needing hospital treatment.

Ellis said Prince Harry's visit to Brazil in June to officially confirm the British teams' training base ahead of the 2016 Rio Olympics and Paralympics had boosted links ahead of the Games.

"We are really building on the success of London 2012," said the ambassador. "There is a commercial angle with many firms who worked on London 2012 are working in Rio, some 60 people who were London 2012 employees are now working for Rio 2016, and we are also providing a lot of advice such as how to run the national electricity grid during the Games and to manage security people flows.

"Brazil and the UK had close links 100 years ago but then went through a period when they turned their backs on each other.

"We are really making an enormous effort of getting back together and sport is a great way of doing that."