Santos Fan Beaten to Death Ahead of 2014 World Cup

Nick AkermanFeatured ColumnistFebruary 25, 2014

In this Dec. 8, 2013 photo, a mixture of artificial fibres and natural grass grows on the pitch of the Arena de Sao Paulo,  in Sao Paulo, Brazil. At Arsenal's Highbury Stadium, Edu played on one of football's finest pitches. Award-winning Arsenal groundsman Paul Burgess became so well-known for his green fingers that he was eventually lured away by Real Madrid. So when Edu returned home to Brazil in 2009 to finish his career, the worn and sorry state of some Brazilian football fields was an eye-opener. Even now, as the World Cup host rushes to ready itself, Edu says pitches in Brazil aren't on a par with those in Europe, where he played for eight years, at Arsenal and Valencia. (AP Photo/Ferdinand Ostrop)
Ferdinand Ostrop/Associated Press

Santos fan Marcio Barreto de Toledo was killed after his side's Brazilian league encounter with Sao Paulo, the club has confirmed.

Globo television announced the 34-year-old's name after he was set upon at a local bus stop. It is said 15 presumed Sao Paulo fans surrounded the Santos supporter and inflicted damage using metal bars, as reported by Sky News.

Although two other fans managed to escape, de Toledo's injuries proved fatal. He leaves behind a marriage and five-month-old baby.

"I think they only stopped hitting him when they got tired of doing so, not because somebody showed up," Globo television quoted Samanta Ferreira dos Santos, the deceased's wife, as saying, per The Sydney Morning Herald.

FIFA president Sepp Blatter.
FIFA president Sepp Blatter.Buda Mendes/Getty Images

The incident casts further doubt over this year's World Cup, the preparation for which has been riddled with consistently negative headlines. Sao Paulo is set to host the opening match of this summer's festivities, an encounter that pits Brazil against Croatia, but the tournament approaches with a darkening cloud continuing to linger.

Santos responded to the reported murder with a full statement. The Sydney Morning Herald paraphrased this release, which states the club does not condone "acts of violence which, sadly, result in victims, one of them fatal" in the latest case.

De Toledo's death follows a string of violent happenings around the nation's football grounds in recent times.

Andre Penner/Associated Press

As reported by Jonathan Watts of The Guardian, a group of 100 Corinthians fans broke into a World Cup training centre to attack their own players and staff at the beginning of February. Striker Paolo Guerrero was "throttled," while the fans also threatened to break former AC Milan forward Alexandre Pato's legs, according to Sky News' report.

In December 2013, fans of Vasco da Gama and Atletico Paranaense rioted in the stands, per the Metro. Vasco director Antonio Peralta suggested major injuries and even a possible death had occurred, saying, "We have one fan in a coma, and a supporter of the other side is dead. Or so I've heard."

Prior to this, former Brazilian footballer Joao Rodrigo Silva Santos was beheaded by suspected drug traffickers in Rio de Janeiro, who later left the victim's head on his wife's doorstep, reported by Suthentira Govender of the Mirror.

Andre Penner/Associated Press

Last week, FIFA unveiled a plan that would see 170,000 security personnel utilised at the World Cup. This includes 20,000 "private professionals," as noted in Sky News' article. President Dilma Rousseff also confirmed the army will be brought in if needed, noted by The Sydney Morning Herald.

With stadium problems and local protests also continuing to wreck Brazil's preparation for the World Cup, it's clear the nation needs to ensure huge progress is made across the board before the major tournament kicks off.

De Toledo's death mustn't be treated lightly. If it is passed over without punishment, little deterrent is provided to the perpetrators just a handful of months before the world converges on Brazil for the World Cup.