LA PAZ: World and South American champions Corinthians of Brazil risk a closed-doors punishment after their fans were blamed for the death of a Bolivian teenager.
Six Brazilians supporters were arrested by police in the mining town of Oruro, three hours south of La Paz, after the incident in the first half of a 1-1 draw between hosts San Jose and Corinthians in the Copa Libertadores, South American equivalent of the Champions League.
The Brazilians were playing their first match in the defence of their South American crown .
A 14-year-old San Jose fan, identified later as Kevin Beltran, was badly hurt after being struck in the face by a firework and was later declared dead in the ambulance taking him to hospital from the Estadio Jesus Bermudez.
Officials of the South American confederation, CONMEBOL, have warned that Corinthians risk heavy punishments if an inquiry reveals their fans directly culpable.
They risk being ordered to play their next group games behind closed doors while an inquiry into the incident continues. This would affect forthcoming games at home Colombia’s Millonarios next Wednesday and subsequent home matches against Mexico’s Tijuana and the return with San Jose.
Corinthians had announced all three matches as pre-sold 83,500 sell-outs.
Corinthians coach Tite said: “I would exchange my world title for the boy’s life.”
The club have declared a week of mourning and said players would wear black armbands for their next two matches.
Corinthians won the world club title for the second time in their history by defeating Chelsea in the final in Yokohama last December.
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