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Fan declared brain dead after violence in Brazil

By The Associated Press

SAO PAULO (AP) — A Brazilian soccer fan has been declared brain dead, the second casualty from a confrontation involving nearly 500 fans from rival groups last weekend.

The Sao Camilo hospital said Tuesday the 19-year-old Palmeiras fan remains on a ventilator but will not recover from the head injuries from Sunday’s fighting. His name was not immediately released.

On Sunday, 21-year-old Palmeiras fan Andre Alves died after being shot in the head. Two other fans remain hospitalized, a 17-year-old with head injuries and a 23-year-old who was shot in the hip and needed surgery.

The fight renewed concerns over escalating fan violence in Brazil. The fan groups were banned from stadiums.

2012-03-27 16:44:04 GMT

NJ man faces trial for attack on NY fans in Philly

PHILADELPHIA (AP) – A man accused of beating two New York Rangers fans in a brawl after the NHL Winter Classic in Philadelphia will be tried on assault charges.

A judge ordered 32-year-old Glassboro, N.J., resident Dennis Veteri to stand trial following a preliminary hearing on Thursday in Philadelphia.

The fight occurred outside a cheesesteak stand after the Jan. 2 game between the Rangers and the Philadelphia Flyers.

The Philadelphia Inquirer ( reports the victims testified Veteri was in a group of Flyers fans who taunted and assaulted them as they waited for sandwiches.

One victim was an off-duty policeman from Woodbridge, N.J. He was beaten unconscious.

Veteri’s attorney has said the case is a fistfight that’s being blown out of proportion.

The Winter Classic drew 47,000 fans to Philadelphia’s Citizens Bank Park. The Rangers beat the Flyers 3-2.

Soccer fans trash Greece’s Olympic stadium

By John Psaropoulos, For CNN, March 19, 2012

Athens, Greece (CNN) — Athens’ Olympic stadium suffered heavy damage during violent clashes between soccer fans and police, authorities said.

The clashes left 20 police wounded, two seriously, police said. Fifty-seven people were detained and another 23 arrested on charges of violence against police and possession of Molotov cocktails.

Police said they were provoked by “a large group” throwing sticks, stones, bits of metal, Molotov cocktails and flares.

The clashes began two hours before a Sunday night match between Greece’s two main football clubs, Panathinaikos and Olympiakos, was due to begin.

“Before the match, individuals who had already gained entry made a sortie from their stands, breaking stadium doors, attacking police and allowing others to enter without security checks,” a police statement said.

One Panathinaikos fan who was present said that “there was a large group of fans that tried to get into the stadium through the basketball courts without tickets.”
The match to got under way, but the violence resumed inside the stadium at half time, when dozens of Panathinaikos fans stormed police lines, authorities said. The second half of the match started almost an hour late, and was cut short by several minutes when fans started raining Molotov cocktails on the stadium. They ripped up seats and partly burned one of the stadium’s two giant display boards.

Police later displayed pictures of seized Molotov cocktails and flares. They also seized three, 16-liter canisters of inflammable fluid that had been placed outside the stadium doors, presumably to resupply the troublemakers.

The stadium is a symbol of a modern Greek moment of glory. It hosted track and field events during the highly successful 2004 Athens Olympic Games. But it was never built to host soccer matches. It lacks turnstiles and heavy-duty security doors.

Cleanup crews were at work Monday piling broken plastic chairs onto the brick-red rubber track and cleaning up debris with leaf blowers. The display board was visibly charred, and splotches of dried blood adorned the aisles.

“When these groups can get away with such things, it is because they were able to get away with them in the past, with no one being punished,” Public Order Minister Mihalis Chrysohoidis said on Skai, a local network.

Panathinaikos FC issued a formal apology for the violent clashes, and could be fined. Together with Olympiakos, it forms Greece’s football powerhouse. The two clubs are, with few exceptions, the only ones to represent Greece in European leagues; but rivalry between their fans has plumbed such violent depths that the fans are no longer allowed to attend matches simultaneously, but are confined to home matches.

“The violence may have been partly provoked by the heavy police presence,” one fan said. “There were seven busloads of police at the game.”

But police may have arrived in such numbers anticipating an organized act of violence. “We knew it was going to happen,” said taxi driver Konstantinos Kavdas, a Panathinaikos follower. “One of the more extreme fan clubs was going to pay the police back for heavy-handed behavior during one of their basketball matches last week,” he said.

Greek football teams do have official fan clubs, but the vast majority of fans belong to independently groups not controlled by the teams.

Fifa hands Kenya huge fine

by Fred Maingi 17 March 2012
Kenya has been slapped with a Kshs1.2million fine by the world football governing body (Fifa) disciplinary committee due to breach of security during international matches.

The committee felt that Football Kenya Federation(FKF) had failed to take the necessary safety precautions to ensure that security and order was maintained during the Fifa world cup preliminary tie between Kenya and Seychelles.

The match that Kenya won 5-0 was staged at Nyayo National Stadium on 15th November last year.

According to a report send by the match commissioner Walter Nyamilandu and the assigned security officer, it was noted with concern that spectators from the Russia stands caused a near stampede as they flocked to the main stand after a down pour before the match.

This action saw fans jump over the barriers as they tried to force their way to the sheltered VIP stand. It was also noted that the Kenya Police Security organs took time to control the situation.

In their decision, the disciplinary committee argued that the federation was held liable for improper conduct among spectators and therefore in violation of article 67 para 1 and 3 of the Fifa disciplinary code.

The stadium’s management has failed to give a correct figure on the actual capacity of the stadium forcing Fifa to down grade the stadia.

The stadium management maintain that it’s a 30 000 seater but Fifa has informed the federation to allow only 16 000. The federation has been holding joint meetings with the relevant security organs on ways of improving safety measures.

Fight at the Opera

Fistfight breaks out at Chicago Symphony Orchestra

CHICAGO (AP) — It was an unusual backdrop for a fistfight: Maestro Riccardo Muti was nearly through the second movement of Brahms Symphony No. 2 at the normally staid Chicago Symphony Orchestra when two patrons went at it.

Concert-goers at Orchestra Hall were all the more stunned Thursday because the two men were fighting in one of the boxes where the well-to-do normally sit in decorous self-restraint.

The Chicago Sun-Times reported Saturday ( ) that the ruckus began when a man in his 30s started punching a 67-year-old man in one of the boxes.

“We heard a rather loud thump,” said Steve Robinson, general manager of Chicago’s classical and folk music station 98.7 WFMT, who was at the performance but didn’t see the fracas. “It wasn’t so loud that everyone jumped up and ran for the exits.”

Police said the fight was the result of an argument over seats. The older man had a cut on his forehead; the other left before officers arrived.

All the while, the concert went on. Though patrons said Music Director Muti gave the two men a sharp, irritated look — one person called it “dagger eyes” — before continuing on with the third movement.

“Mind you, he never stopped conducting,” Robinson said. “He very gracefully, without missing a beat — literally — he brought (the second movement) to a very quiet and subdued close, while still looking over his left shoulder.”

WVU Football Fan Behavior Improved

MetroNews Sports

WVU athletic director Oliver Luck and school officials are pleased with the results of selling beer at Milan Puskar Stadium this past football season, along with the change of not allowing fans to exit the stadium during the game and reenter.  Luck was on hand Friday at the WVU Board of Governors meeting, giving the board an update on the overall results and effect of those changes on fan behavior. 

“The data that we received just confirmed our belief that making the changes was going to be good for overall security and for fan enjoyment – that’s important as well,” Luck said. 

Overall, most fan related incidents needing police involvement within a 24-hour time span of gameday went down this past year around campus and in Morgantown compared with 2010.

In general, cases, arrests and charges by Morgantown police were all down – cases were down by 42 percent with arrests down by 35 percent.  On campus, specifically, those numbers were down as well.

“From all of the years I’ve worked, this is probably the best season I’ve ever worked,” said WVU Police Chief Bob Roberts.  “Things really were a lot better and we knew it would be better if we didn’t have pass-outs.”

Roberts said on-campus, calls were down, cases were down and arrests were also dramatically down as well.  Overall, he said the numbers compared well to other schools across the country.

“When LSU played Alabama, they had I think 149 arrests at that game,” Roberts said.  “That was more arrests at that game than we had for the season.  So, if you look at our stadium versus what’s going on at other places, we’ve really improved what we’re doing.”

Luck, meanwhile, doesn’t see any significant changes to the policy for the upcoming year at Milan Puskar Stadium.

“We’ll continue to look at some of the data, but in terms of large scale policy changes, I don’t think so,” he said.  “We’ll tweak where stands may be or where restrooms will be located – those type of things.  But, I don’t think we’ll be looking at any major policy changes.  It worked pretty well and if it’s working well, let’s not change it.”

Also, West Virginia’s move to the Big 12 won’t have any affect on the school’s ability to sell beer at football games.

“They’ve indicated that they’ll leave the decision to us and I think we’ve shown that, handled properly, it can work well and benefit the fans,” Luck said.

When Luck first announced the sale of beer at Milan Puskar Stadium last year, there were questions as to whether the same would be implemented at the Coliseum as well – however, he said there’s still not any plans for that.

“We don’t have any alcohol issues there as we did at football, and that’s what really drove this,” Luck said.  “If we did anything at the Coliseum, it would be maybe at one of those Club areas, which is limited to a certain level of season ticket holders.  But, we haven’t really talked about that much. 

“We’ll look at that after the basketball season is over and see if we’re going to make any changes there,” he continued.  “But, at this point to the general public in the Coliseum, we have no plans of beer sales.”

In total, West Virginia profited about $750,000 dollars from beer sales this past football season — $500,000 from the sales themselves and another $250,000 in sponsorships from three suppliers. 

“Ultimately, it made about three quarters of a million dollars for the athletic department and that’s real money – nothing to sneeze at,” Luck said.

Up to code

City Spends Extra $44K for Fan Safety at Ballpark

Officials discovered mid-installation that Florida Auto Exchange Stadium needed a safer, more expensive style of railing to better prevent fans from falling from the top row.

New railing installed at Florida Auto Exchange Stadium in January may have been up to code, but it wasn’t safe enough to stay — at least, not for city fire officials.

City officials agreed to fork over an extra $44,000 just weeks after railing was installed as part of the original $53,000 project, so it could be replaced with a safer, more expensive style in time for the first spring training game Saturday.

“These are protecting folks, pretty much, from heights,” City Manager Rob DiSpirito said. “There are some pretty good drops.”

The first 151 feet of railing had been installed around the top level of the grandstand, separating the top row of fans from a three-story drop to the ground. The latest railing has vertical bars about 4 inches apart. It is considered safer than the previously installed railing, which had six horizontal “rungs” that children could potentially climb like a ladder, DiSpirito said. 

The city originally ordered the horizontal-style railing and was in the middle of installation when it was discovered that state fire code specified a strong preference for the other type of railing.

“There’s no question there was a mistake, and we regret that,” Tom Burke, city engineer, told Dunedin commissioners at their Feb. 16 meeting.

At least 22 deaths are attributed to falls at Major League Baseball stadiums since 1969, according to an August 2011 ESPN report. Last year, two deadly falls — one in July at Rangers Ballpark in Arlington, TX, the other in May at Coors Field in Denver — prompted officials at some MLB stadiums to rethink the weight given to fans’ view when setting safety standards for railing height, according to ESPN.

The Dunedin ballpark hasn’t had any major incidents since it was built in 1977*, but DiSpirito told commissioners that he wanted to “avoid any opportunity for that kind of mishap to happen here.”

The new, vertical-style railing is the same height as the older, horizontal railing — roughly 54 inches, or 4 and a half feet.

“They do present a remarkable difference in appearance,” Burke said. “They are a safer form of handrail, and they are appropriate for what we’re doing.”

MLS Sanctions Fans

MLS sanctions Dynamo fans for bad behavior at road games

by staffPosted on February 28, 2012 at 12:35 PM Updated Wednesday, Feb 29 at 12:08 AM

HOUSTON – Bad behavior at road games has prompted the MLS to limit the privileges of traveling Houston Dynamo fans.

Major League Soccer sent a letter to organized fan groups this week, detailing the sanctions.

According to the MLS, the fan Code of Conduct was breached by Dynamo supporters on at least three occasions in the 2011 season.

During a game vs. the LA Galazy at Home Depot Center on November 20, 2011, MLS officials said Dynamo fans threw smoke bombs and other hazardous objects onto the field and used obscene language and gestures.

At a game against Sporting Kansas City at LIVESTRONG Park on November 6, 2011, league officials said another prohibited smoke bomb was brought into the stadium and ignited.

On September 24, 2011, during a game against FC Dallas at Pizza Hut Park, yet another smoke bomb was brought in and lit, the MLS said.

As a result of their conduct, traveling Dynamo fans will not be allowed to bring previously permitted items into any park – things like flags, banners, confetti and drums.

The road-game restrictions will be in place at least for the Dynamo-Chivas game at Home Depot Center on March 11, 2012, and the Dynamo-Sporting Kansas City game at LIVESTRONG Park on July 7, 2012.

The MLS said they will determine whether to lift the ban after the opening of BBVA Compass Stadium.

“While regrettable that these incidents took place, it is our hope that 2012 marks the year that such misconduct is a thing of the past so that we can return to our focus of supporting the Texian Army, El Battallon, Brickwall Firm, La Bateria and any other legitimate group supporting the Dynamo,” MLS officials wrote.

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