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BBC Sport's Tim Vickery
"At least ninety people were taken to hospital"
 real 28k

Saturday, 30 December, 2000, 23:20 GMT
Fence collapse hits soccer final
shocked spectators
Dozens of spectators were in a state of shock
More than 60 football fans in Rio de Janeiro have been injured, two seriously, after a fence collapsed during the final of Brazil's Joao Havelange Cup.

The crush took place after hundreds of fans in the upper terraces of the Sao Januario stadium pressed forward, apparently trying to flee fighting that had broken out between rival supporters.


After the fight began, everybody fell on top of each other, then the whole terrace panicked

Football supporter
Fans lower down were pushed against the perimeter fence, which collapsed under their weight. Hundreds of people spilled onto the pitch.

The accident occurred in the 21st minute of the game between Vasco da Gama and Sao Caetano, with the score at 0-0. Play was held up and then abandoned 90 minutes later.

Officials at a nearby hospital said more than 50 people, including small children, had been brought in with injuries ranging from bruises to broken arms.

injured fans
Hundreds of fans spilled onto the pitch
"Nobody has died, many people have been discharged, at least two are seriously hurt, though not critically," hospital director Maria Emilia Amaral said, adding that the number of injured could reach 70.

Television footage after the incident showed dozens of spectators lying on the pitch, while others wandered around in a state of shock.

"After the fight began, everybody fell on top of each other, then the whole terrace panicked," one supporter told the Reuters news agency.

Fury

Many of the wounded were treated at the scene by ambulance staff, while helicopters took those with more serious injuries to a hospital in Rio.


The governor, who is a weak-willed incompetent man, decided to have the match abandoned

Vasco president Eurico Miranda
The order to abandon the game - the showpiece of the Brazilian football season - came from the governor of Rio de Janeiro state, Anthony Garotinho.

He overruled police and club officials who had wanted to carry on.

The move prompted a furious outburst from Vasco da Gama president Eurico Miranda.

Mr Miranda was quoted by the French news agency AFP as saying that Mr Garotinho had no right to stop the game.

Fans appear to climb the fence
The fence is believed to have collapsed under the weight of the fans
"The military police chiefs were prepared to encircle the pitch so none of the fans could interrupt the match restarting," he was quoted as saying.

"However, the governor, who is a weak-willed incompetent man, decided to have the match abandoned."

Vasco authorities are reported to have later declared themselves champions.

The choice of the 35,000-capacity Sao Januario over the much larger Maracana stadium had been widely criticised before the game.

Sao Caetano vice-president Jose Carlos Molina said his team had wanted the match stopped.

"There has been a tragedy here. We can't go on," he said. "The players are in no state of mind to continue."

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See also:

31 Dec 00 | Football
A predictable tragedy
31 Dec 00 | Americas
In pictures: Brazil's stadium crush
29 May 00 | UK
Liverpool remembers Heysel
29 May 00 | UK
The Heysel disaster
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