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Rodrigo Paiva Banned from World Cup for Allegedly Punching Mauricio Pinilla

BELO HORIZONTE, BRAZIL - JUNE 28:  Mauricio Pinilla of Chile reacts after being defeated by Brazil in a penalty shootout during the 2014 FIFA World Cup Brazil round of 16 match between Brazil and Chile at Estadio Mineirao on June 28, 2014 in Belo Horizonte, Brazil.  (Photo by Jeff Gross/Getty Images)
Jeff Gross/Getty Images
Gianni VerschuerenFeatured Columnist IVNovember 21, 2016

Updates from Sunday, July 6

ITV.com reported the latest on Rodrigo Paiva's punishment for his actions toward's Chile's Mauricio Pinilla:

Brazil's communications director Rodrigo Paiva has been banned for the rest of the World Cup for punching Chile's Mauricio Pinilla.

Paiva had been given an initial one-game ban after being shown a red card by the referee after the half-time scuffle.

FIFA's disciplinary committee has now extended that by a further three games and fined him 10,000 Swiss francs (£6,600).

Updates from Monday, June 30

Mauricio Pinilla commented on Rodrigo Paiva's alleged punch via his Twitter account (per Liam Twomey of Goal.com):

"Mr Rodrigo Paiva, Brazil press officer punched me in the tunnel without any reason," he tweeted from his official account. "Fifa can't tolerate this delinquent.

"Fifa must intervene; this is something so serious. There can't be any fool punching a player, even less a press officer."

Reacting to Paiva's automatic one-game suspension, he added: "Just one-game ban to Paiva? They should be embarrassed because of this delinquent in a suit.

"Suarez risked his career due to his biting and just one-game ban for a press officer punching? Fifa?

"I call on Fifa for an exemplary ban for Paiva, just like the one for my colleague Suarez. This is even more serious. There are pictures."

Original Text

Brazil's round of 16 win over Chile at the 2014 World Cup on Saturday ended in high drama on the pitch, but it now appears some of the drama may have unfolded during half-time, as FIFA is reportedly investigating an altercation between Chilean player Mauricio Pinilla and Rodrigo Paiva, a Brazilian communications director.

As reported by ITV, FIFA is looking into allegations that Paiva punched Pinilla, something the Brazilian denied to Brazilian media:   

"It was not just me. Pinilla came towards me and I just defended myself. I reacted by pushing him."

According to ITV, tempers got heated when Brazilian striker Fred slapped the back of Gary Medel's head, resulting in a scuffle between both teams. FIFA confirmed it is looking into the matter, and it is believed it has video footage of the incident after it spilled into the stadium hallways.

A spokeswoman said, per ITV:

"We can confirm there has been an incident and the disciplinary committee is currently analysing the matter."

Sky Sports' Paulo Freitas confirmed the incident allegedly occurred during half-time:

Pinilla was a substitute for Chile, and he came on late during their World Cup clash with rivals Brazil. He nearly won his team the match when his shot cannoned off the crossbar in the dying minutes of extra time, before missing his penalty during the shootout that led to the Brazilian win.

Brazil have a long history of eliminating Chile from the World Cup, with Saturday's match being the fourth time the Selecao have sent the Chileans packing in their football history. Chile have never beaten Brazil during the knockout stages, but they came agonizingly close this time around.

Frank Augstein/Associated Press

Tempers were flaring right from kick-off, and as hosts, the Brazilian team and their officials were under tremendous pressure. The crowd didn't appear happy with what they saw during the 120 minutes of football, and things quickly became chippy on the pitch.

It's therefore no surprise to hear there may have been an incident in the dressing rooms, though it is surprising such an altercation occurred at half-time, and not when the match was over.

FIFA is investigating, but whether the punishment would have any real impact on Brazil's World Cup run is anyone's guess. Paiva is a well-known figure in the Brazilian team, but as communications director, he has little impact on the team once they hit the pitch.

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