Soccer-related violence is a way of life in many countries including Brazil, the nation that has been chosen to host this summer’s World Cup tournament. Over the past several years there have been numerous riots along with kidnappings, murders and even a couple of beheadings. However, the latest death has puzzled even the hardest-core hooligans.
On May 2, following a 1-1 tie between Santa Cruz and Parana in a Second Division game, a full-scale brawl broke out on the street outside of Arruda Stadium in the World Cup host city of Recife. While dozens of hooligans were battling each other outside of one of the stadium gates a shiny white object fell from the sky and struck one of them in the head.
The object was one of three toilet bowls that had been ripped out of one of the washrooms and thrown down into the street from the stands. The toilet bowl struck a 26-year-old named Paulo Ricardo Gomes da Silva and he died instantly. The remarkable incident was also caught on video as the brawl was being recorded by other fans.
A Recife police captain named Wilson Queiroz said Arruda Stadium will be shut down indefinitely while the fan’s death is being investigated. Recife is scheduled to host five World Cup games this summer, but they will be held at a new venue called the Arena Pernambuco. According to the Brazilian Soccer Federation a sports tribunal will rule on Da Silva’s death after the investigation has been completed.
In addition, there was more violence in Brazil the same weekend. Police said 40 people were detained following a brawl outside of the World Cup stadium in the host city of Natal. The fighting took place before a game between America and ABC. The match was a World Cup test event for the Arena das Dunas on May 3.
A police officer named Roberto Andrade said the brawl started when fans from the America and ABC teams ran into each other on their way to the stadium for the game. The fans of ABC started to throw pieces of wood and rocks at the America supporters until police officers tried to halt the violence. Fans of both teams were then taken to a local police station and interrogated. The Arena das Dunas is also scheduled to hold four World Cup games during the tournament.
With the World Cup kicking off on June 12 and ending on July 13, Brazilian authorities and FIFA are downplaying the concerns raised by fans over soccer violence in the country. The world governing body of soccer and Brazilian World Cup organizers said there will be adequate security measures in place to ensure the safety of players and fans during the event. They also pointed out that most of the violence takes place at games between rival clubs.
Brazil will reportedly have a special task force of riot police ready and prepared for any violence or protests during the World Cup, which is regarded as the largest sporting event in the world.
By William Lewis
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