Tuesday, February 04, 2014
VIOLENT ATTACK OF PLAYERS BY FANS PUT BRAZIL IN IN BAD LIGHT MONTHS BEFORE FIFA WORLD CUP
The 2014 FIFA World cup in Brazil is few months away and Brazilian football is under the spotlight for the wrong reasons again after players from one of the country's most popular clubs,Corinthians, were attacked by fans upset with the team's struggles.
Nearly 100 fans cut through a wire of mesh fence on Saturday to invade Corinthians' training grounds, which is where Iran's national team will be based during the World Cup in June.
They attacked team employees and grabbed Peruvian striker Paolo Guerrero by his neck, forcing other players to flee into a locker room and barricade themselves until police arrived.
"This represents the failure of the Brazilian state," Corinthians President Mario Gobbi said Monday. "It was something that shocked everyone, and it still hurts. Teams don't lose because they want to lose. It's something that happens in football. Authorities are the ones responsible for handling this type of violence, not the clubs."
Corinthians, which won the 2012 Club World Cup thanks to a goal by Guerrero in the final against Chelsea, threatened not to play on Sunday because of the attack, but in the end players were convinced to get on the field in respect to other fans and sponsorship deals.
The team lost 2-1 to Ponte Preta, marking the third defeat in a row for the country's second-most popular club, behind Flamengo.
Corinthians coach Mano Menezes was very unhappy with the situation "We can't accept this type of violence. This is not the football that we want to see here in Brazil, "When something like this happens, you just feel like going home."
The attack happened at a training centre which will be used during the World Cup, and comes amid uncertainty over the start of this year's Brazilian league because of ongoing lawsuits and bribery allegations.
More violence were reported over weekend, and a video being shown by local media shows four police officers using batons to strike a lone supporter allegedly involved in fan fighting during a match in the central state of Goias.
However, FIFA reiterated on Monday that the successful security plan used in stadiums during last year's Confederations Cup will be in place again.
"For the World Cup, a thorough security plan will be part of an integrated operation by private and public entities to guarantee the safety of fans, players and all participants of the event."
The World football governing body remains concerned, though, with the recent turmoil in the Brazilian league, which may not start on time because of a series of civil lawsuits against a sports tribunal decision that altered the league's final standings last year.
Public prosecutors reiterated Monday that they will continue to seek legal action against the federation, which could be considered a breach of Fifa's statutes and lead to sanctions for clubs and the federation itself.
Prosecutors are also investigating whether officials from minnow club Portuguesa received money to deliberately get the team relegated by fielding a suspended player in the final round, which led to a four-point penalty and allowed defending champion Fluminense to avoid relegation.
Fifa this month will also have to decide whether it will be able to keep the southern city of Curitiba as a World Cup host city. Local organisers have until February 18 to show they can get the city's stadium ready before the tournament begins.
Brazil was named as the 2014 FIFA World Cup host in 2007, but it has had to constantly deal with preparation problems.
The country had promised to have all 12 stadiums ready by the end of last year, but five remain under construction less than five months before the opener on June 12.
Brazil's image has already been tarnished by its problematic World Cup preparations - with host city Curitiba still in danger of being dropped - and last year a flood of fan violence plagued Brazilian stadiums and raised safety concerns ahead of football's showcase event.