In most places, fans will let a team know that they are dissatisfied with its performance by booing them. Fans of Brazilian soccer club Sociedade Esportiva Palmeiras, however, chose a slightly different means to communicate their displeasure: They attacked a player after a loss.
According to the AP, "one of the team’s organized fan groups punched and kicked reserve midfielder Joao Vitor after he was recognized arriving at the team’s official store outside the Palestra Italia stadium on Tuesday."
Vitor was reportedly briefly hospitalized with minor injuries, but no arrests were made. Kléber, a striker for Palmeiras, has lashed out at the club for their response to the incident.
According to soccer website Sambafoot.com, Kléber was upset with the response to the incident by head coach Luis Felipe Scolari, which reportedly was: "This kind of thing happens, but the boy is well, on to the game."
While the passion among South American soccer fans creates some of the most amazing in-game atmospheres in all of sports there are times when that intensity can manifest itself in ugly ways. In August, an Argentine referee was forced to not only flee the field in order to escape unruly fans, he had to hop a fence as they chased after him. This instance is actually just one of several examples of players attacking referees.
Of course, fan violence knows no borders and is a growing problem in North America as well, with a Cowboys fan actually smuggling a stun gun into an NFL stadium recently and using it on another patron. While referee attacks don't seem to be as common in the U.S. they may be on the rise if this late-August melee at a youth football game in Florida is an indicator of things to come.
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