Dozens of people were injured in a
crush outside the stadium where Brazil were training for Wednesday's
World Cup qualifier against Venezuela, medical and police sources
Television pictures showed chaotic scenes in front of the Mangueirao
stadium, in the northern city of Belem, where an estimated 75,000 people
turned up hoping for a unique opportunity to see the world champions in
Desperate fans, including children, were seen running, falling over each
other and being trampled on amid a background of screaming and wailing
Riot police were brought in and used pepper spray to try to control the
The stadium, which holds around 45,000, was full one hour before the
practice session, causing angry fans outside to jump over the fences or
force open the gates.
Jaime Bastos, the doctor responsible for the stadium's first aid post,
said he had lost count of the number of people he had treated.
"When everyone comes in at once, you can't note down anything," Bastos
The Globonews cable television station put the injury toll at around
100, while other media said dozens had been hurt.
A police spokesman told Reuters that they had expected around 35,000 for
the practice but that 65,000 had got inside the stadium and around
10,000 had been locked out.
Entry was free but fans were asked to bring their own food.
Brazilian media initially reported that a 10-year-old girl had been
killed in the crush.
They later said local authorities had denied the incident happened at
the stadium and was the result of a road accident nearby.
Brazil regularly take their home matches to the provinces, playing in
cities which would otherwise never see top-level international football.
Their practice sessions are popular with ordinary fans who cannot afford
tickets for the games themselves and want a glimpse of players such as
Kaka, Ronaldo, Adriano, Roberto Carlos, Ronaldinho and Robinho.
Brazil's top players are all based in Europe, many having left in their
teens and early 20s after playing only a couple of seasons in their
Inside the stadium, where the crowd and players were apparently unaware
of the problems, there was a festive atmosphere reminiscent of a pop
concert, with high-pitched screaming when players such as Kaka and
Robinho touched the ball.
With one round of fixtures remaining in South American qualifying,
Brazil have already secured a spot at next year's finals in Germany,
while Venezuela are out of contention.