FIFA says security plan for WC is sound
FIFA insisted its security plan for the 2014 World Cup in Brazil will prevent any repeat of the violent scenes that halted the Copa Sudamericana final -- with visiting Tigre players claiming they were threatened with guns by Sao Paulo security officials.
In a statement released by the international football governing body, FIFA said next year's Confederations Cup and the World Cup will have "a comprehensive security concept for the stadiums in place developed by the local organizing committee together with the respective authorities and reviewed by the FIFA security experts.."
"The FIFA Confederations Cup will be the first football competition in Brazil to use mainly private stewards for safety and spectator services as it is already a standard procedure in many countries around the world," FIFA said in the statement.
FIFA said it plans to train and certify more than 30,000 security officers to work during the Confederations Cup and World Cup tournaments.
"FIFA has full confidence in the security arrangements developed," it said.
Brazilian side Sao Paulo was awarded the Sudamericana title after Argentina's Tigre refused to return for the second half at the Morumbi stadium, claiming its players had been attacked by security staff in the dressing rooms during the interval.
It followed confrontations between the two sets of players as they made their way off the pitch at halftime with Sao Paulo 2-0 up.
FIFA said in the statement: "FIFA cannot comment on the incidents at the match in question, as FIFA were not involved in this match operation."
Brazilian officials, meanwhile, said Thursday afternoon they ordered an investigation into the violence that broke out at Wednesday night's final.
The Sao Paulo State Public Safety Department says witnesses, players and security personnel will be questioned, but did not provide further details.
Tigre goalkeeper Damian Albil said one officer put a gun to his chest.
"The fight lasted 15 minutes," he said. "A lot of security people came to us and attacked us. Suddenly, I realize that I had a gun against my chest. If we did go out to play, it would be a battle in the field. There was no security, it was impossible to play. Something worse could have happened."
Tigre assistant coach Jorge Borrelli added: "It was unbelievable, I have never seen anything like this. We're lucky someone wasn't killed."
Sao Paulo's president Juvenal Juvencio said the Argentinian side had been intimidated by the atmosphere and denied that guns had been produced.
"They were there with their tongues out with fear because we had 67,000 fans in the stands," he said. "They knew they were to going to concede many more goals in the second half, so they decided to leave. There were no guns as they said. Tigre is a small team -- nobody had heard of them 15 days ago.
"We will celebrate twice: the Argentinians (running away) was our biggest victory," he added.
The South American governing body CONMEBOL must now decide whether to punish Tigre for not playing the second half, or Sao Paulo for the lack of security in their stadium.
CONMEBOL official Romer Osuna said: "The referee abandoned the game because it was not right to play on. This decision is final. It is a shame that a continental final finished in this fashion."
Sao Paulo captain and goalkeeper Rogerio Ceni was shocked by the way the match ended, but claimed the Tigre players had been overly aggressive on the pitch.
"We don't know what happened, but the Tigre players came to Brazil to fight, not to play," he said. "I really don't know what happened in the dressing rooms."
Information from Press Association and The Associated Press was used in this report.