Incidents mar South America Cup final in Sao Paulo
- Published: 13/12/2012 at 05:46 PM
- Online news:
Dressing room brawl, local police accused of brutality, the South America Cup final here between Sao Paulo and Argentine side Tigre was marred by serious incidents less than two years before Brazil hosts the World Cup.
Security guards on duty ahead of the Copa Sudamericana final at Morumbi stadium, Sao Paulo, Brazil, on December 12, 2012. The South American Cup final was stopped at half-time when players from Argentine side Tigre claimed they were attacked by Brazilian security forces in their dressing room.
Tigre refused to emerge for the second half in the second leg tie against Sao Paulo late Wednesday with the game abandoned and the title awarded to the Brazilian team.
Tigre defender Lucas Orban said police barged into their dressing room and threatened one of the club's players with a gun.
"Sao Paulo's security agents came in, they hit us with batons, took out a revolver and pointed it at the goalkeeper Damian Albil. Then the police came in and began to hit us again," he reported.
The astonishing claims came just two weeks after the draw was held here for the 2013 Confederations Cup and in the country that is hosting the 2014 World Cup.
Tigre midfielder Martin Galmarini reported that "everyone was armed".
He said Sao Paulo's security agents were lying in wait for the Tigre players at the entrance to their dressing room "and threatened us with weapons".
The Tigre players' claims were denied by a Brazilian military policeman.
"No one was armed," commander Gonzaga told Brazilian media.
According to Gonzaga, when the police arrived "there was general fighting between Sao Paulo security, the players and the Tigre staff. No one was armed, there were people wounded on both sides."
He said his men intervened to end the melee.
Commenting on the incidents on his Twitter page Thursday, former Brazil star Ronaldo slammed the behavior of the Tigre side, saying they should be banned fron continental competitions for 10 years by the South American football Confederation Conmebol.
"Now to serve as an example, there should be very severe punishment of Tigre. A 10-year-ban from South American competitions," said Ronaldo, a member of Brazil's organizing committee of the 2014 World Cup.
Ronaldo, who won the World Cup with Brazil in 2002, also criticized the Sao Paulo managers and substitute players as well as the reporters who invaded the pitch when Tigre refused to return for the second half.
The match had already been marred by scuffles between the two sides in the first half triggered by a foul on Sao Paulo's Lucas Moura.
Moura, who was making his last appearance for Sao Paulo before joining French side Paris Saint Germain, scored the opening goal in the 23rd minute, with Osvaldo doubling up six minutes later.
Chilean referee Enrique Osses officially called off the game when the Argentinian players refused to take to the pitch for the second half with Conmebol awarding the title to Sao Paulo.
Wednesday's incidents are bad news for Brazil which in recent weeks had been trying to turn the page on criticism of its lagging preparations for the World Cup, particularly construction of host stadiums.
Sunday, President Dilma Rousseff is to inaugurate a new arena in the northeastern city of Fortaleza, six months ahead of the opening of the Confederations Cup, a dress rehearsal for the World Cup.
About the author
- Writer: AFP
Position: News agency