World Cup 2014: Another supporter's death fuels Brazil security fears

belo horizonte

With the World Cup just weeks away, security chiefs in the host city of Recife have promised to toughen their stance against fan violence after a supporter was killed at a Brazilian League match on Friday night.

"We can't close our eyes to this kind of thing, or take it lightly. It's time to introduce tougher measures," said Jose Bispo of the Pernambuco state prosecution service.

Paulo Gomes Ricardo da Silva, 26, was hit by, of all things, a toilet thrown from the upper deck of the Arruda stadium as members of two of the notorious torcida organizada gangs battled after the game between Santa Cruz and Parana in Serie B.

Lavatories in the stadium had been destroyed to create improvised weapons. The Brazilian FA announced yesterday that Arruda would be shut pending a full enquiry into the incident.

According to Lance magazine, there were 234 football-related deaths between 1988 and 2013, with 30 last year. In December there was a mass brawl between fans of Atletico-PR and Vasco da Gama in the Arena Joinville in the south of Brazil, and last week fans of Belem club Remo invaded a training session and threatened the squad. The manager and four players later quit.

Brazilian authorities have struggled to deal with hooliganism, merely imposing fines or making clubs play in empty or distant stadiums. They are not helped by an ineffective justice system – a judge recently cleared four Corinthians fans who staged a violent invasion of the club's training centre, calling them "loyal supporters".

Yet Bispo intends to take tougher action against violent fans. "Now we will try to take legal action to eliminate them completely," he said.

The Coppa Italia final was delayed by 40 minutes last night after at least one Napoli fan and a policeman were shot in clashes outside the Stadio Olimpico in Rome as Rafa Benitez's side were due to take on Fiorentina.

It was reported that Napoli's captain Marek Hamsik held talks with ultra supporters in order to come to an agreement that the game should be allowed to start.

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