Brazilian Football Violence

A key Brazilian league match was stopped for more than an hour after fans started fighting in the stands on Sunday, prompting police to fire rubber bullets to contain the crowd and bring a helicopter onto the field to airlift an injured man to a hospital

Supporters from Atletico Paranaense and Vasco da Gama charged against each other and it took several moments for police to take control of the situation in the southern city of Joinville. Groups of fans punched and kicked each other several times until police arrived and fired rubber bullets to clear the crowd.

Doctors said three other fans were hospitalized but none of their injuries were life-threatening. The man airlifted from the pitch had a serious head injury but his life also wasn’t at risk, according to information released by the Hospital Sao Jose.

The match, which restarted after about an hour and 10 minutes, was important for both teams as Atletico Paranaense was trying to secure a spot in next year’s Copa Libertadores and Vasco da Gama, a four-time Brazilian champion, was hoping to avoid relegation. Atletico Paranaense won 5-1 to reach its goal and demote the Rio de Janeiro club.

Fan violence has been rampant in Brazil this year with several cases of fighting in stadiums across the country, raising concerns ahead of the World Cup. The match was being played in Joinville instead of Atletico’s base in Curitiba because the club had been punished for fan violence earlier this year.

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