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FIFA condemns ‘very sad’ fan violence in Brazil Earth’s atmosphere to take beating at World Cup

SAO PAULO, Dec 9, (AP): As disturbing images of fans hitting each other made their way into the news across Brazil, FIFA moved quickly Monday to downplay the risk of violence inside stadiums during the World Cup. FIFA condemned the incidents in the southern city of Joinville, where fan fighting halted a decisive Brazilian league match for more than an hour on Sunday and led to the hospitalization of four people, including one airlifted from the field. “This is very sad for Brazilian football,” FIFA said in a statement sent to The Associated Press. “FIFA and the local organizing committee condemn any form of violence and such incidents should not happen in any football stadium.” The violence came only two days after FIFA held the draw for the World Cup with an extravagant ceremony in a luxurious resort in northeastern Brazil.

Hundreds of supporters from Atletico Paranaense and Vasco da Gama charged against each other in Joinville, throwing kicks, punches and using sticks and metal bars in the fighting, forcing the referee to stop the match about 17 minutes into the first half. Security in Joinville was done by private guards instead of police, similar to what is planned for the World Cup. Only stewards are in charge of fan safety inside stadiums during FIFA events, with authorities usually in charge of security outside the venues. Sunday’s fighting only stopped after police arrived firing rubber bullets to disperse the crowd.

FIFA said it could not comment on what happened in Joinville because it was not involved in the match, but noted that it is confident with security plans for the World Cup. “For the 2014 FIFA World Cup a very comprehensive security concept is in place in an integrated operation between private and public security authorities to ensure the safety for fans, players and any other stakeholder involved in the event,” the governing body said “The concept has worked very well during the FIFA Confederations Cup and is built on models used at previous FIFA World Cups.”

Most of FIFA’s security concerns ahead of next year’s event have been focused on protests outside of the venues, but the recent violence inside Brazilian stadiums is likely to lead to some apprehension. Even though rival fan groups common to club matches are not expected during World Cup games, it was clear Sunday that the nearly 80 security guards separating the crowd in Joinville were not in position to contain the violence.
Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff said Monday the sports ministry was accompanying the case and called to an end to lack of punishment in cases of fan violence in Brazil. “The country of football cannot live with violence in stadiums anymore,” Rousseff said on Twitter. “We need police in the stadiums.”

Meanwhile, the World Cup may be great for planet soccer, but it isn’t so good for planet Earth.
FIFA says the 2014 tournament, which will require huge amounts of air travel to venues across Brazil, will produce the equivalent of 2.72 million metric tons of carbon dioxide, a greenhouse gas. That means staging the monthlong tournament will produce as much carbon dioxide as 560,000 passenger cars do in one year, according to the greenhouse gas calculator on the US Environmental Protection Agency’s website. In an effort to curb pollution, FIFA will finance such projects as tree planting trees, which help reduce carbon emissions. FIFA’s head of corporate social responsibility, Federico Addiechi, said in an interview that the ruling body will be spending several million dollars.

Teams, spectators, officials and others will have to crisscross the world’s fifth-largest country, mostly by air, because the 64 World Cup matches are scattered across 12 stadiums. Fans will produce about 90 percent of World Cup carbon emissions, Addiechi said. The rest — about 251,000 tons — is directly from FIFA’s activities. That includes travel for teams, referees, FIFA officials, carbon produced by their hotels, the use of stadiums and other tournament-related activities. “We’re going to offset 100 percent of those emissions,” Addiechi said. That could be done by financing reforestation in Brazil, wind farms, hydroelectric plants or other projects. The projects will be announced next year. Addiechi said they will cost FIFA about $2.5 million, which is still just a fraction of the billions expected in World Cup revenue.

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