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Sao Paulo awarded Copa Sudamericana final as match abandoned amid chaos

This isn’t what FIFA wants to see ahead of the 2014 World cup in Brazil in two years’ time.

Police officers stand guard the entrance to Argentina's Tigre's dressing room after a fight among teams' members at the end of the first half.
Police officers stand guard the entrance to Argentina's Tigre's dressing room after a fight among teams' members at the end of the first half.
Image: (AP Photo/Andre Penner)

THE IMAGE OF Brazilian soccer in the lead up to the 2014 World Cup took a hit last night when the final of the Copa Sudamericana was abandoned after visiting club Tigre accused security officials of pulling guns and beating its players.

Sao Paulo was awarded the title when Tigre refused to take the field for the second half of Wednesday’s second leg of the final.

Sao Paulo were leading 2-0, with the first leg having ended scoreless.

Officials of the Argentine club said their players and staff were beaten by security officials in the dressing room area at half-time and guns were drawn. The trouble off the pitch followed scuffles between the teams at the end of the first half.

Nestor Gorosito, the coach of Tigre, declined to take his team back on the field for the second half. He said security officials pulled guns on his players while others clubbed players and team officials.

“They pulled two revolvers,” he said, referring to unspecified security officials. “We’re not going to play any more.”

The chaotic scenes in Sao Paulo, before a sellout crowd of 65,000 at Morumbi stadium, is sure to trouble FIFA — the governing body of world soccer — which already has been frustrated by slow preparations for the World Cup.

Most of FIFA’s angst so far has been focused on getting stadiums and new infrastructure in place. Now security also looms as a concern for the World Cup, which will be played at 12 venues across the country.

The Confederations Cup, a preparatory event for the World Cup featuring eight national teams, will be played next year at six venues in Brazil. With the 2016 Summer Games slated for Rio de Janeiro, Olympic officials also are sure to review the incident.

Brazil’s Sao Paulo FC’s players scuffle with counterparts from Argentina’s Tigre at the end of the first half of the Copa Sudamericana final. (AP Photo/Felipe Dana)

The trouble at the Morumbi stemmed from confrontations between the teams following a first half in which the hosts had taken a 2-0 lead on goals from Lucas and Osvaldo.

It was unclear what happened in the dressing room area, but Argentine television showed what appeared to be blood-spattered walls. Argentine television also showed several Tigre staff members with bruises and bloody faces.

“Police entered and struck our players with clubs,” Gorosito told Argentine television. “It was crazy. What happened was crazy.”

Romer Osuna, a Bolivian official with CONMEBOL, South America’s governing body of soccer, said Tigre players were afraid to return to the field.

“The Tigre people declined to play because they considered security was not good enough,” Osuna told Fox Sports.

Referee Enrique Osses of Chile awarded the victory to Sao Paulo after waiting about 30 minutes for Tigre to retake the field.

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