All eyes are on Brazil as it prepares to host the World Cup in 2014, and there may now be reason for concern after violence broke out on Sunday during a Serie A match between Atletico Paranaense and Vasco da Gama in Joinville, Santa Catarina, Brazil.
Vasco was trying to avoid relegation to Serie A's second division. Atletico were the home unit, but they had to play away from their home stadium due to fan behavior in a previous match.
According to Ed Malyon of Mirror Football, fans began to fight in the stands just 10 minutes into the match after Atletico jumped out to an early 1-0 lead.
Atletico PR v Vasco getting hideous. Riot police with shotguns dispersing fighting fans after only 10 mins pic.twitter.com/jvt9zxWzGm— Ed Malyon (@eaamalyon) December 8, 2013
Per Malyon, it was an ugly scene that left the players and coaches in shock.
Players and coaches visibly upset watching the carnage in the stands. Explosions, shotguns, the lot going on here— Ed Malyon (@eaamalyon) December 8, 2013
Malyon's report for the Mirror offers some additional details of the scene, including the fact that one man was left in a coma.
The violence was so uncontrollable that a military helicopter landed on the pitch to restore order.
Military police have landed a helicopter on the pitch. Game taking place in Joinville because of previous fighting pic.twitter.com/wSktg5GNhG— Ed Malyon (@eaamalyon) December 8, 2013
Reporter Donna Bowater of The Telegraph added the following:
Had been 60 military police around Joinville stadium, 20 on horseback, says Zero Hora. For a relegation decider.— Donna Bowater (@DonnaBow) December 8, 2013
First responders had to act quickly in order to defuse the situation and bring those who were injured back to safety.
As seen in this photo courtesy of Malyon, an injured fan was carried away on a stretcher.
Injured fan being transported away from the game on chopper now. Looks bad. pic.twitter.com/vXFxaMdbj0— Ed Malyon (@eaamalyon) December 8, 2013
Globo Esporte provided a gallery of several more disturbing images from the riot.
Atletico players talked about the violence, via Malyon:
"They were trying to escape the Atletico fans," said defender Luiz Alberto. "We saw a young lad laying down, getting kicked, being hit by blocks of wood. He is a human being. This needs to stop. We asked them to stop, and they did not listen to us "
Teammate Wendel added, "[T]his is so sad... there are no words for it.
"There are people on the ground, I don't know what has happened to them"
According to James Young of The Independent, stopping the riot was particularly difficult because police are not permitted to serve as security at a private event in Santa Catarina.
No police inside stadium, only private security. Apparently law in Santa Catarina that police can't provide security at "private event".— James Young (@seeadarkness) December 8, 2013
Although it remains to be seen how many involved in the violence were injured, there is no question that it was an awful situation that marred what should have been an enjoyable match.
Despite the carnage, Malyon is reporting that the match will resume.
One of the club directors is saying they're going to resume the game. Can't believe it.— Ed Malyon (@eaamalyon) December 8, 2013
They're playing again. Count me out of the rest of this one.— Ed Malyon (@eaamalyon) December 8, 2013
Needless to say, there were security measures put in place following the incident (via Young):
Game restarted with 160 military police inside stadium. Jose Maria Marin can add another entry to his "great things I've done" scrapbook.— James Young (@seeadarkness) December 8, 2013
As for injuries from the violence, Young passed along some details from the broadcast of the match:
TV Globo now giving confirmed information that three fans currently in a coma, but no deaths.— James Young (@seeadarkness) December 8, 2013
Bowater had more information on the injuries suffered at the stadium:
Atletico fan Willian Batista has a fractured skull, according to reports.— Donna Bowater (@DonnaBow) December 8, 2013
When all was said and done, Vasco lost the match, 5-1.
Despite the scary scenes, Tom Webber of Goal.com assured fans that this type of violence won't impact the sport's biggest event.
Scenes like that in Joinville today won't happen at the World Cup, but unfortunately there will be plenty of fear-mongering now.— Tom Webber (@thwebber) December 8, 2013
However, those who are planning on attending World Cup matches will certainly want some assurances that they will be safe after this situation, and FIFA has plenty of work to do with regard to making sure that is the case.
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