Photos: Brazil World Cup 2014: Violence Mars Football Season End [PHOTOS]
By Umberto Bacchi | Dec 09, 2013 09:32 PM EDT
The end of the Brazilian football league was marred by violent clashes between fans which raised major security concerns ahead of the World Cup.
Riot police fired rubber bullets to quell a brawl between supporters of Atletico Paranaense and Vasco da Gama. Four people were injured after the brawl erupted in the stands of the Arena Joinville in the southern state of Santa Catarina.
"This is deplorable," said Vasco da Gama coach Adilson Batista. "It's sad to see images like these just before the World Cup in our country. I'm shocked, this is not sport."
TV images showed the two groups of opponent fans charging against each other. One man fell to the ground seemingly unconscious and was repeatedly kicked in the head.
Players attempted to calm fans down but it wasn't until police stepped in that the situation was brought under control. The match was suspended for more than an hour.
A helicopter landed on the pitch to airlift an injured fan to hospital. The man had a serious but not life-threatening injury, the Hospital Sao Jose said. Another three fans were hospitalised.
"We tried to tell the fans to stop because things would only get worse. We looked at the stands and there were no cops. There was nobody there to stop the fighting," said Atletico Paranaense defender Luiz Alberto.
"I'm playing for 20 years and I've never seen anything like this in person. We will have a World Cup in our country and we know these images will be shown everywhere."
Police were not in the stands when the fighting began as security was being provided by a private company.
"This is very sad, I've never seen anything like this," Atletico Paranaense midfielder Everton said. "One of the fans was alone on the ground and he was being hit for about 10 minutes without anybody doing anything. They wouldn't stop hitting him."
"It's a private event so the security was being provided by a security company hired by Atletico Paranaense," said officer Adilson Moreira.
Atletico Paranaense won the match 5-1, condemning Vasco da Gama to relegation.
Vasco da Gama soccer fans beat up an Atletico Paranaense fanSource: Reuters Date:12/09/2013
Two groups of opposing fans charging each other during a match in BrazilSource: Reuters Date:12/09/2013
Policemen fire rubber bullets to quell a violent brawl between football fansSource: Reuters Date:12/09/2013
A violent brawl between football fans erupted in the stands of the Arena JoinvilleSource: Reuters Date:12/09/2013
Paramedics use a stretcher to carry an injured Atletico Paranaense fan after clashesSource: Reuters Date:12/09/2013
Four people were injured and hospitalised during clashes between soccer fans in BrazilSource: Reuters Date:12/09/2013