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Funeral takes place of Brazilian football fan killed by toilet bowl projectile

Paulo Ricardo Gomes da Silva was fatally injured during clashes in the city of Recife, one of the venues for the World Cup.

A large Brazilian flag is passed along by fans at a friendly football match in 2013.
A large Brazilian flag is passed along by fans at a friendly football match in 2013.
Image: AP/Press Association Images

A FOOTBALL FAN killed when rival supporters hurled a toilet bowl at him following a league game was laid to rest on Sunday.

Paulo Ricardo Gomes da Silva, 26, died when fans clashed Friday night in the northern coastal city of Recife, one of the venues for the World Cup starting next month. His body had lain in a chapel overnight as family and friends paid their last respects before the funeral procession headed for the cemetery.

Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff tweeted her sorrow and outrage at the killing at Santa Cruz’s Arruda stadium, across the city from the brand new Pernambuco Arena World Cup venue. ”A country that loves football cannot tolerate violence in its stadiums, (which) local police must deal with rigorously,” said Rousseff.

Sunday evening, Brazil’s Tribunal for Sporting Justice said it had imposed a two-match supporter ban for upcoming matches at Arruda stadium. The tribunal also indicated the venue would remain closed pending the outcome of an ongoing investigation, meaning Santa Cruz will have to find another venue for their next games.

Relatives earlier told Globo’s G1 online news portal the family were considering legal action against the club.

Santa Cruz chairman Antonio Luiz Neto insisted the club had done what it could to keep fans apart, allowing a 15-minute interval for rival supporters to leave the venue.

Overnight, Brazilian media broadcast footage shot by a security guard at the stadium showing the moment the victim was hit by the toilet bowl thrown from a height of some 65-feet. The images showed Da Silva being struck on the head and collapsing to the ground, as dozens of fans scattered in panic.

 - Full-force injury -

Globo quoted Beraldo Neto, a professor of physics, as indicating Da Silva was hit by a force equivalent to an object weighing 770 pounds. He estimated its weight at 33 pounds and the speed it was thrown at some 80 kilometres per hour.

Police have yet to make an arrest but Globo reported they had interviewed one youth who posted comments to social media on the incident before releasing him. Da Silva’s father, Jose, urged any fans who could help identify the culprit to tell police. He declared:

They must be identified. If they don’t resolve this then in a week’s time someone will throw another bowl and kill someone else.”

Three other fans were injured in the incident. One remains hospitalized in a stable condition with leg injuries.

The violence followed a draw between second division sides Santa Cruz and visiting Parana. The case was only the latest in a series of violent football-related incidents in Brazil recent months.

Other recent violent incidents saw fans of Atletico Paranaense engaging in bloody clashes in December with visitors Vasco da Gama. Fans of Sao Paulo-based Corinthians then invaded their club’s training complex and attacked players.

Brazil has been racing to prepare for the World Cup, starting 12 June, amid construction delays and huge cost overruns. It will cost more than €8 billion to stage the event, fuelling protests demanding more cash for public services and infrastructure.

© AFP, 2014

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