Brazilian soccer is investigating another act of fan violence less than 40 days before the start of the World Cup that left a man dead after he was hit by a toilet bowl hurled by rival supporters.
Authorities say the next two matches at the Estadio do Arruda in Recife will be played without supporters, and fans of Santa Cruz are banned from all stadiums until the individual responsible for the death of 26-year-old Paulo Ricardo Gomes da Silva is identified. Silva was struck outside the stadium after fans ripped up toilet bowls and threw them from the top deck following a match between Santa Cruz and Parana on May 2.
Last year 30 people were killed in soccer violence inside and outside stadiums in Brazil. In February, supporters of the country’s richest team, Corinthians, broke into a training center to attack players after they played poorly. In December, a match between Atletico Paranaense and Vasco da Gama was stopped to allow a helicopter to land on the field and airlift a man who had been beaten unconscious. Forty people were detained last weekend after violence outside a stadium newly built for the World Cup in Natal.
“Violence in stadiums must be strictly curbed by police and criminals should be investigated and prosecuted,” Brazil’s President Dilma Rousseff said in a posting on Twitter. “Football stadiums are the scene of joy and passion. We must all unite for peace in stadiums.”
Supporters of Parana were asked to leave the stadium early to prevent clashes between groups of fans at the game three days ago. As they were leaving, toilet bowls and other debris rained down from atop the stadium. Three people were injured, authorities said.
So far no one has come forward to identify the supporters responsible for hurling the toilet bowls over the side of the stadium. Sports Minister Aldo Rebelo said police were outside the venue when the incident happened.
“I’m confident the police will find the person responsible for this act,” Rebelo told reporters in Rio de Janeiro.
The monthlong World Cup kicks off on June 12 in Sao Paulo when host Brazil meets Croatia. Organizers estimate that 3 million people will attend games. The Arruda stadium isn’t being used for the tournament.
Rousseff has called for the creation of special police delegations dedicated to curb soccer violence in stadiums.
For the World Cup 8 billion reais ($3.6 billion) has been spent on building stadiums without standing-room areas that are similar to arenas used in top European leagues. Many fans prefer to watch games in bars or at home because of the poor conditions and the threat of violence, according to Denio Cidreira, director of entertainment properties for Odebrecht SA, which operates three of the new venues, including Rio de Janeiro’s Maracana stadium.
Cidreira said none of the violence that tainted Brazilian soccer in the past year has occurred at any of the facilities his companies operate and more women and children are now attending games.
“We made a survey at one game and about 40 percent of the supporters were women -- that’s amazing,” he said in an April 24 interview.
To contact the reporter on this story: Tariq Panja in London at firstname.lastname@example.org