Violence at World Cup will not be tolerated, says Brazil
The recent outbreak of hooliganism, which marred a weekend first division match, must not happen again, say tournament hosts
Brazil has pledged to stamp out stadium violence after hooliganism marred a weekend first division league game, raising fresh doubts about its ability to stage a trouble-free World Cup.
President Dilma Rousseff said Brazil could not and would not tolerate soccer violence after fans of Atletico Paranaense and Vasco Da Gama fought pitched battles in the southern city of Joinville.
Graphic television footage showed hundreds of fans of both sides kicking and punching for several minutes with the game only a few minutes old, forcing the referee to call a halt for an hour as order was belatedly restored.
The violence continued unabated as the hooligans ran amok, clashing in several sections of the stands. At least three fans were hurt with one, believed to have suffered a fractured skull, airlifted to safety by helicopter.
There was further controversy after police failed to intervene and it later transpired that Atletico had only drafted private security to police a "private event".
Rousseff was energetic in her condemnation. "A footballing country cannot live with violence in its stadiums. This violence goes against all that we associate with football," the president said. "The presence of police is necessary in stadiums," she added.
Sports minister Aldo Rebelo also condemned the violence and vowed his ministry would be asking why military police had not been on hand. "Those responsible must be identified and punished," Rebelo said.
And Andrei Rodrigues, a justice ministry official dealing with security during major events, said that what happened in Joinville "will not happen again during the World Cup".
Stressing that the weekend league match was not under Fifa control, he said: "What I can say is that this is not the model of security that will be used during the World Cup.
"We have an integrated security scheme in which private security will work in tandem with public authorities with respect to ticket control, searches of spectators and identification of people.
"Each of the  World Cup host arenas will be monitored by 200 cameras in real time, with clear intervention plans."
Fifa said it regretted any form of soccer violence, but it should have no impact on the World Cup. "However, for the World Cup a very comprehensive security concept is in place in an integrated operation between private and public security authorities to ensure the safety of fans, players and any other stakeholder involved in the event," a spokeswoman said.
Brazilian media expressed consternation at an admission by state authorities that security inside the ground was left in the hands of private security with state police only on duty outside.
"The forces of law and order intervened later because security at the match was under the responsibility of a private company employed by Atletico," said police spokesman Adilson Moreira.
A spokeswoman for Santa Catarina state's public prosecutor said "this was an isolated case" and that normally police would be expected to be inside the stadium rather than just outside.
Only after the fans had been left to their own violent devices did security finally intervene.