At least 85 hooligans mostly Chileans were given 72 hours to abandon Brazil following their arrests for having broken into the Maracaná stadium and destroyed most of the press centre. The incidents happened minutes before the Chile-Spain match in Rio do Janeiro on Wednesday when the South American team knocked out the reigning Cup kings.
”As to the foreign football supporters who broke into the Maracaná press centre, the Federal Police has notified 85 individuals that they have a maximum of 72 hours to leave the country (Brazil)”, warned Rio authorities. Those who do not comply will be deported.
According to media reports hundreds of Chilean hooligans invaded the media centre, hoping for access to the seats, in an event that will put the spotlight back on Brazil’s ability to hold a trouble-free World Cup.
Chilean fans, who had not been able to get tickets for their World Cup Group ‘B’ game against defending champions Spain, had been chanting “FIFA mafia” before the game.
And they jumped the gate, entering the media centre where stunned journalists could only look as they ran through the arena, looking for an entry into the press tribune.
The glass door to the media centre was destroyed as they brought down the LCD’s and two of wooden walls where the press lockers were situated.
The hooligans ran in circles around the media centre before they were eventually controlled by the security staff present. But by then, panic and devastation had already been spread. A few Chilean fans were also injured but no journalists were hurt.
Minutes before the invasion, gun shots were fired outside the Maracana as riot police, which had gathered in large numbers failed to control the rioting fans.
On Sunday, for the first match at the Maracana between Argentina and Bosnia, Argentine fans had also tried to jump in through the security fencing in front of the gate which leads to the media centre.
This time around, the security officers were powerless as hordes of fans entered, stealing the spotlight away from the crucial match which was due to start at 1600hrs local time. Earlier on Wednesday, travel chaos ensued following tightened security ahead of the Spain-Chile match.