The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Officials threaten to stop meet

Brasilia: Brazilian soccer authorities are threatening to suspend the national championship in protest against a new law — called the ‘Supporters Statute’ — that makes clubs and federations responsible for the safety of fans. The stoppage is to begin from Friday.

Officials from the Group of 13, which includes some of Brazil’s most important clubs, are halting the national championship indefinitely because they say they cannot comply with the new law.

Clubs are alarmed at clauses in the law that could make them criminally liable for injuries to fans within a 5km radius of the stadium.

“It’s inconceivable to hold clubs responsible for confrontations between groups of fans outside the stadium,” Corinthians vice-president Roque Citadini said.

Most major clubs in Brazil have organised fan clubs, and violent clashes between rival groups are common.

The statute, a response to congressional inquiries into alleged corruption and mismanagement in Brazilian soccer, forces clubs to announce attendances and gate receipts at every game, provide numbered places on terraces for all supporters, a receipt for every ticket sold, one ambulance for every 10,000 fans and clean toilets.

It also demands video monitoring at stadiums with a capacity of more than 20,000 and will hold club directors responsible for inadequate security.

Fabio Koff, president of the Group of 13 said many members preferred to suspend the tournament “until we have economic conditions to meet the requirements”.

Vasco da Gama president Eurico Miranda said clubs might be able to meet the law’s terms in 2004, “but this year it’s impossible”.

Still, not all clubs are in favour of stopping the tournament. First-division sides Sao Paulo, Vitoria, Parana and Sao Caetano said they wanted to play this weekend as scheduled.

Sao Paulo president Marcelo Portugal Gouvea said the decision by the Club of 13 was “hasty”. (Agencies)

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