Brazil's 1994 World Cup star Romário kicked more than the ball last week, when an angry fan threw six chickens at
him. The ex-Barcelona striker attacked the supporter after a training session at his team's ground in Rio de Janeiro.
Supporter Ricardo Gomes clearly ruffled the footballer's feathers, launching a stream of abuseand then the six animalsat
Romário as a protest against Fluminense's terrible form.
"You're going to give me a bollocking in my own home? No, you're not are you. If you want to have a go at me go
to the Maracanã [Rio's largest stadium], but don't do it here," ranted the player as he and physiotherapist Fernando Lima
laid into Gomes.
The fight, which drew in other fans and even Fluminense's manager Renato Gaúcho, was broken up by Polícia Militar.
"He can't play football, but he knows how to fight," 31-year-old Gomes told reporters afterwards.
Fluminense's president David Fischel criticized Romário, but said no immediate action would be taken. "The
player shouldn't have had such a deplorable attitude. But if he were punished now it would be Fluminense who would suffer,"
However, Romário will have to explain his actions to the police, October 29. After undergoing a physical
examination, the supporter reported the incident to local police.
Gomes, vice-president of the supporters group 'Garra Tricolor', may also face charges. Animal rights groups have
demanded he be prosecuted, after one of the chickensbought for R$ 40 (US$ 13)died. Under Brazilian law, cruelty against
animals can result in a prison sentence of up to one year. According to article 32 of the Environmental Crimes legislation the
punishment can be increased by up to a third when an animal is killed.
"A member of a supporters group is a law unto himself. He always acts with emotion and almost never with logic,"
explained Claúdio Delunardo of Fluminense website Tricolor Doente (Fanatic Tricolor).
The incident shows Romário's frustration at his team's recent form. Fluminense are five from bottom in the
Brazilian Championship and face relegation.
"The team is rubbish, Romário should retire and the board are indescribably incompetent," said Delunardo.
Rio's other teams are doing almost as badly. Vasco da Gama, who beat Manchester United 3-1 in 2000's World
Club Championship with two goals from Romário, lie in seventeenth place. Flamengo are the city's highest placed team, in twelfth.
But the incident does seem to have had some effect on the pitch. Fluminense beat São Paulo team Corinthians one
day after the chicken incidentRomário scoring the only goal four minutes from the end.
Tom Phillips is a British journalist living in Rio de Janeiro. He writes for a variety of publications on politics
and current affairs, as well as various aspects of the
cultura brasileira. Tom can be reached on:
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