Wed, Dec 11, 2013 - Page 20 News List

Brazil vows to act against hooliganism ahead of World Cup

AFP, RIO DE JANEIRO

Brazil pledged to stamp out stadium violence on Monday after hooliganism marred a weekend first-division league game, raising fresh doubts about its ability to stage a trouble-free World Cup.

Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff said Brazil could not and would not tolerate soccer violence after fans of Atletico Paranaense and Vasco Da Gama fought pitched battles in the southern city of Joinville.

Graphic TV footage showed hundreds of fans of both sides kicking and punching for several minutes with the game only a few minutes old, forcing the referee to call a halt for an hour as order was belatedly restored.

The violence continued unabated as the hooligans ran amok, clashing in several sections of the stands.

At least three fans were hurt with one, believed to have suffered a fractured skull, airlifted to safety by helicopter.

There was further controversy after police failed to intervene and it later transpired that Atletico had only drafted private security personnel to “police” a “private event.”

Rousseff was energetic in her condemnation.

“A footballing country cannot live with violence in its stadiums. This violence goes against all that we associate with football,” the president said.

“The presence of police is necessary in stadiums,” she added.

Brazilian Minister of Sports Aldo Rebelo also condemned the violence and vowed that his ministry would be asking why military police had not been on hand.

“Those responsible must be identified and punished,” Rebelo said.

And Andrei Rodrigues, a justice ministry official dealing with security during major events, said that what happened in Joinville “will not happen again during the World Cup.”

Stressing that the weekend league match was not under FIFA control, he told a press conference: “What I can say is that this is not the model of security that will be used during the World Cup.”

“We have an integrated security scheme in which private security will work in tandem with public authorities with respect to ticket control, searches of spectators and identification of people,” he added. “Each of the [12] World Cup host arenas will be monitored by 200 cameras in real time, with clear intervention plans.”

On Sunday, FIFA said the violence should have no impact on the World Cup.

“For the 2014 FIFA World Cup, a very comprehensive security concept is in place in an integrated operation between private and public security authorities to ensure the safety for fans, players and any other stakeholder involved in the event,” a spokesperson said.

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