Brazilian football mourns tragic death of fan struck by bottle

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Smoke hangs in the air after police in Brazil used pepper spray and stun grenades to control rival fans fighting at a soccer stadium.—twitter
Smoke hangs in the air after police in Brazil used pepper spray and stun grenades to control rival fans fighting at a soccer stadium.—twitter

The Brazilian football community is in mourning following the tragic death of Gabriela Anelli, a Palmeiras fan who was struck by a glass bottle outside a stadium. A minute’s silence will be observed at matches in Brazil’s top-flight league to pay tribute to the 23-year-old fan.

The incident occurred when a brawl broke out between Palmeiras and Flamengo supporters outside the Allianz Parque stadium in Sao Paulo. Anelli was in a queue when a bottle was thrown, causing a severe cut to her neck. Despite being rushed to the hospital, she tragically succumbed to her injuries two days later.

Anelli’s brother expressed gratitude for the support received and shared the heartbreaking news on Instagram, stating that his sister had “gone to live with God in heaven.” Ednaldo Rodrigues, the president of the Brazilian Football Confederation (CBF), condemned the incident and vowed to collaborate with relevant authorities to prevent such “criminal and sad episodes” from recurring.

In honour of Anelli, a minute’s silence will be observed at all matches during the 15th round of the Brazilian championship, as announced by Rodrigues. He emphasised that football should be a space for passion, not for criminals who perpetrate acts of violence.

During the brawl, the police also faced attacks with glass bottles and resorted to using pepper spray to restore order. Unfortunately, the spray affected the players inside the stadium, leading to two interruptions in the first half of the match due to their discomfort.

Players, including Arsenal’s Brazilian striker Gabriel Jesus, expressed their condolences and called for an end to violence in football. Jesus described the incident as a sad day for Brazilian football, emphasising the need for reflection and unity to combat such acts. Palmeiras and Flamengo, the clubs involved, issued statements expressing their solidarity with Anelli’s family and condemning the senseless violence.

The police spokesperson announced that the individual responsible for throwing the bottle has been arrested and will face charges of intentional homicide. The incident has prompted a broader conversation about fan safety and the urgent need to address violence within football stadiums.

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