A Brazilian fan died after being struck by a toilet bowl hurled in clashes after a football game in a World Cup host city, police said Saturday, just 40 days before Brazil stages the event.
Santa Cruz, based in the northeastern coastal city of Recife, had drawn with visiting Parana late Friday when violence erupted outside the grounds.
Fans clashed upon leaving the Arruda stadium, across town from a brand new World Cup venue.
Some ripped out toilet bowls and threw them at fans congregated below, fatally injuring one, a police spokesman said.
Police named the dead man as Paulo Ricardo Gomes da Silva.
His mother, Joelma, told local radio: “They killed my son and me too — I would not wish the pain I am suffering today on anybody.”
Local television said Da Silva had become embroiled in a quarrel with organized groups of opposing fans following a match that drew about 8,000 supporters.
“Given the urgency of what happened,” the Brazilian Football Confederation said the country’s Supreme Tribunal of Sporting Justice (STJD) had ordered the temporary closure of the stadium pending further inquiries.
Recife has built a new stadium, the Pernambuco Arena, for four World Cup matches on the city’s outskirts, although with no top flight side to support some locals fear the venue could prove an expensive white elephant.
Brazilian media quoted Santa Cruz president Antonio Luiz Neto as insisting his club and the police had done their best to ensure home and away fans left the ground 15 minutes apart to minimize the risk of clashes.
According to Globo, three more fans were injured, one seriously, in the violence, just the latest outbreak of several instances of hooliganism in recent months in Brazil.
During a major incident in December, fans of Atletico Paranaense clashed with visiting team Vasco da Gama, television cameras focusing on one bloodied man mercilessly kicked in the body and head.
President Dilma Rousseff said Brazil would not tolerate such behavior.
But dozens of Corinthians supporters subsequently invaded their club’s training complex and attacked Sao Paulo club players.
Brazil has been racing to prepare for the World Cup amid a series of construction delays and huge cost overruns.
It will cost more than $11 billion to stage the event that the five-times champions last hosted in 1950 on a much smaller scale.
The bill has angered many citizens who say the money spent at new state of the art stadiums, some in cities without a major team, such as Recife itself, would have been better directed toward upgrading poor public services.
In June, more than a million Brazilians marched nationwide to decry the cost of the Cup and some recent protests, while smaller, have ended in violence.