Brazil police release Boca Juniors team after stadium brawl
RIO DE JANEIRO (AP) — Players of Argentina’s Boca Juniors spent the night in a bus outside a Brazilian police station before being allowed to leave Wednesday following a brawl with security after their Copa Libertadores penalty shootout loss to local Atletico Mineiro.
Police in the city of Belo Horizonte said they had questioned six members of the Argentine delegation, two of whom were fined 3,000 reals ($575) each for damages. The other four were charged with bodily injury and contempt and are supposed to appear in court at a later date.
Police did not release the names of those fined and charged.
The fight erupted as players from Boca Juniors returned to the locker room after the Tuesday night game. Video footage showed members of the team throwing punches and portable railings at security personnel. The team apparently was infuriated by a goal that had been disallowed by a video review offside call.
The Brazilian club said on Twitter that Boca players had also tried to break into their locker room and that they destroyed water coolers and railings.
The Boca delegation had been expected to fly back to Argentina that same night, online news site G1 reported, but the team bus was taken to the police station instead.
The bus was finally allowed to leave the police station around midday local time.
On Tuesday, Atletico Mineiro had said its chairman, Sérgio Coelho, negotiated with security forces so that Boca players would testify to police about the incident without the risk of getting arrested.
Santiago Mayor, spokesman for the military police in Belo Horizonte, told the Argentine TyC Sports channel that three Boca Juniors players had been identified as attacking security personnel, though he did not identify them.
Juan Román Riquelme, Boca's vice president, complained to the same channel that security people weren't letting the players return to the dressing rooms.
Both matches of the round-of-16 clash ended goalless, but Atletico Mineiro won 3-1 on penalties Tuesday night to advance. Boca Juniors players and executives were furious that a goal was annulled after a video review.
Atletico Mineiro will face one of two Argentinian clubs in the next stage. River Plate and Argentinos Juniors drew 0-0 last week.
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