Sao Paulo violence won't be repeated, hopes FIFA

Brazilian hosts Sao Paulo were crowned champions after Argentinian side Tigre refused to return for the second half at the Morumbi stadium, claiming their players had been attacked by security staff in the dressing rooms during the interval. It followed confrontations between the two sets of players as they made their way off the pitch at half-time with Sao Paulo 2-0 up.

FIFA said in a statement: “FIFA cannot comment on the incidents at the match in question, as FIFA were not involved in this match operation.

Tigre players leave the dressing room under police escort, after the Copa Sudamericana final match against Sao Paulo on Wednesday. Pic/AFP

“However, for the FIFA Confederations Cup and the FIFA World Cup there will be a comprehensive security concept for the stadiums in place developed by the local organising committee together with the respective authorities and reviewed by the FIFA security experts.

“The FIFA Confederations Cup will be the first football competition in Brazil to use mainly private stewards for safety and spectator services as it is already a standard procedure in many countries around the world. “This is already a legacy as through this initiative more than 30,000 security officers will be trained and certified to work during the FIFA Confederations Cup and FIFA World Cup in Brazil. FIFA has full confidence in the security arrangements developed.”
Tigre goalkeeper Damian Albil said one officer put a gun to his chest.

He said: “The fight lasted 15 minutes. A lot of security people came to us and attacked us. Suddenly, I realise that I had a gun against my chest.

“If we did go out to play, it would be a battle in the field. There was no security, it was impossible to play. Something worse could have happened.”

Tigre assistant coach Jorge Borrelli added: “It was unbelievable, I have never seen anything like this. We’re lucky someone wasn’t killed.”

Sao Paulo’s president Juvenal Juvencio claimed the Argentinian side had been intimidated by the atmosphere and denied that guns had been produced.

He said: “They were there with their tongues out with fear because we had 67,000 fans in the stands. They knew they were to going to concede many more goals in the second half, so they decided to leave. We will celebrate twice: the Argentinians’ runaway was our biggest victory.”

The South American governing body CONMEBOL must now decide whether to punish Tigre for not playing the second half, or Sao Paulo for the lack of security in their stadium.

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