The invasion of the press center of the Maracanã stadium, in Rio, Brazil, moments before the match between Chile and Spain was classified as shameful by FIFA’s security officer, Ralf Mutschke who promised measures to prevent this from happening again.
So far, 288 fans were arrested at the World Cup and 77 barred from entering Brazil for the tournament. The invasion of the media center was the second in two games played in the Maracanã stadium in this World Cup.
“It was embarrassing and we have to protect the press and the journalists. They entered through an external gate, broke and ran to the inner perimeter,” he told reporters. “We are assessing the situation to make sure this will not happen again.”
At least 85 hooligans mostly Chileans were given 72 hours to abandon Brazil following their arrests for having broken into the Maracanã stadium and destroyed most of the press center. The incidents happened minutes before the Chile-Spain match in Rio do Janeiro on Wednesday when the South American team knocked out the reigning Cup kings.
“As to the foreign football supporters who broke into the Maracanã press center, the Federal Police has notified 85 individuals that they have a maximum of 72 hours to leave the country (Brazil)”, warned Rio authorities. Those who do not comply will be deported.
According to media reports, hundreds of Chilean hooligans invaded the media center, hoping for access to the seats, in an event that will put the spotlight back on Brazil’s ability to hold a trouble-free World Cup.
Chilean fans, who had not been able to get tickets for their World Cup Group ‘B’ game against defending champions Spain, had been chanting “FIFA mafia” before the game.
And they jumped the gate, entering the media center where stunned journalists could only look as they ran through the arena, looking for an entry into the press tribune.
The glass door to the media center was destroyed as they brought down the LCD’s and two of wooden walls where the press lockers were situated.
The hooligans ran in circles around the media center before they were eventually controlled by the security staff present. But by then, panic and devastation had already been spread. A few Chilean fans were also injured but no journalists were hurt.
Minutes before the invasion, gun shots were fired outside the Maracanã as riot police, which had gathered in large numbers failed to control the rioting fans.
On Sunday, for the first match at the Maracanã between Argentina and Bosnia, Argentine fans had also tried to jump in through the security fencing in front of the gate which leads to the media center.
This time around, the security officers were powerless as hordes of fans entered, stealing the spotlight away from the crucial match which was due to start at 4 pm local time. Earlier on Wednesday, travel chaos ensued following tightened security ahead of the Spain-Chile match.
Over 90% Occupied
Hotels in Rio de Janeiro are having occupancy rates over 90% since the beginning of the World Cup. According to data from Rio de Janeiro’s Municipal Secretariat of Tourism, the volume of guests is even higher in five-star hotels, which are 97.08% occupied. The prospect is that at the World Cup final, on July 13th, this rate reaches 98%.
t is not only the hospitality sector which is registering an increase in flow of people. Tourist attractions are also bustling. Redemption Christ’s statue has received 50,000 tourists between June 8th and 15th. At the same period, Sugarloaf Mountain has received 5,000 people per day. In both cases, the volume of visitors is 75% higher than the one seen a week prior to the beginning of the World Cup.