FIFA saddened by violence in Brazil

FIFA has moved to play down the risk of violence inside stadiums at next year’s World Cup in Brazil, after shocking scenes of violence during Sunday’s¬†Brasileirao clash between Vasco da Gama and Atletico Paranaense.

Manoel scored a goal after just five minutes to put Atletico in front – a scoreline which would have seen four-time champions Vasco relegated.

Violence broke out within the stands just minutes later, with riot police forced to use rubber bullets to break up groups of fighting fans and a helicopter used to airlift one fan who had fallen into a coma.

FIFA said in a statement that what happened was ”very sad for Brazilian football” and ”such incidents should not happen in any football stadium.”

“For the 2014 FIFA World Cup a very comprehensive security concept is in place in an integrated operation between private and public security authorities to ensure the safety for fans, players and any other stakeholder involved in the event.”

“The concept has worked very well during the FIFA Confederations Cup and is built on models used at previous FIFA World Cups.”

There were no police inside the stadium when the match started, with supporter safety within the Joinsville Arena left to a private security firm.

“A football match like this usually demands 80, 150, 200 men working exclusively on it – men that we could be using elsewhere, taking part in other operations and protecting the city,” a police officer explained to Radio Globo¬†after being asked why police were not already inside the ground.

“These officers are taking care of other areas and we also have men on leave, because they have the right to take a day off and shouldn’t end up losing those days off because of the matches,” the officer said.

“The police force allocated to the match is going to work exclusively outside the stadium. Inside, only private security hired by the teams.”

At least 30 people have been killed in incidents in and around Brazil’s stadiums this year.

Lance, Brazil’s best-selling sports newspaper, said 234 had been killed in football violence since 1988.

The paper recently called the organised fan groups “gangsters dressed up as football fans” and blamed the authorities for not doing more.

“The problem is not the lack of laws but the lack of commitment and rigour shown by authorities in upholding the laws that exist,” the paper said in a front-page editorial in October after fans fought with police at the Sao Paulo derby between Sao Paulo and Corinthians.

Judging by the events of Sunday, that message remains unheeded.