Rival fans brawl on beach ahead of Copa Libertadores final

Adriana GarciaNov 3, 2023, 07:07 PM ET2 Minute Read

The presidents of Boca Juniors and Fluminense, along with CONMEBOL, have urged fans to behave following a brawl between their supporters at Copacabana beach before the Copa Libertadores final on Saturday.

Images posted on social media appeared to show clashes between Boca and Fluminense fans near the fan zone on the beach in Rio de Janeiro on Thursday.

Tear gas and rubber bullets were used by the police during the incident.

According to the state’s Military Police, three people were arrested ahead of the final, which is the South American equivalent of Europe’s Champions League.

“Officers immediately surrounded the area, brought the situation under control, and took two Argentine tourists and a Brazilian man to the 12th Police Station,” said the police in a statement.

In a statement posted on X, CONMEBOL called for unity and peaceful behavior among Boca and Fluminense fans. They expressed their disapproval of violence and racism that may occur during the final.

A meeting was held by CONMEBOL on Friday, chaired by its president Alejandro Dominguez, with the participation of club leaders, the Argentine FA (AFA), and the Brazilian Football Confederation (CBF).

“It is crucial to create an atmosphere of peace among the fans that brings them together so that people can enjoy the wonderful football festival at the Maracana stadium,” said Mario Bittencourt, president of Fluminense.

Jorge Amor Ameal, the chief of Boca, added: “This is not a war, it is a football match, a celebration of Latin American football. We deeply appreciate the Brazilian people, but some violent individuals want to change that. We kindly ask everyone to respect our opponents.”

More than 100,000 Argentine fans are expected to travel to Rio for the final, where there will also be a Red Hot Chili Peppers concert this weekend.

The Argentine consulate in the city provided a list of warnings for Boca fans traveling to Brazil, including a reminder that racist/xenophobic chants and gestures are criminal offenses punishable by up to five years in prison.

“Avoid any type of provocation towards the Brazilian people,” the consulate advised.

Rio’s town hall has implemented a special operation to manage the influx of supporters for Saturday’s final.

Boca Juniors, based in Buenos Aires, have not won the Copa Libertadores since 2007 and are aiming for their seventh title in the competition on Saturday.

Information from Reuters contributed to this report.


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