In light of the tragic death of a 14-year-old boy who was struck by a flare during Corinthians' Copa Libertadores match with Bolivian side San Jose, CONMEBOL ordered the Brazilian team to play all home games behind closed doors until further notice.
On Wednesday evening, the Copa Libertadores champions were supposed to defend their title against Colombian side Millonarios with no fans at all in their 40,000-capacity Pacaembu stadium.
However, four suporters went to court to challenge the South American football confederation's ruling. At the eleventh hour, they were successful and granted access to see the game. The Bangkok Post reports:
A court ruling granted the four fans access to the Pacaembu arena, where normally at least 20,000 supporters cheer their beloved team.
Gavioes da Fiel, Corinthians' main fan club, told its more than 96,000 members to comply with the Conmebol decision and stay away from the stadium to avoid any trouble.
Outside the stadium, which was sealed off, about 100 young fans turned up to noisely express their support as police in cars and on horseback kept watch and a helicopter circled overhead.
"What happened in Bolivia was a tragedy but we had nothing to do with it," said 38-year-old Leonardo Guimaraes, a member of Gavioes da Fiel.
"It is unfair to punish us when those responsible are the youth who fired the flare and Bolivian security, which did not do its job," he added.
Considering the circumstances, it feels pretty disrespectful to defy the stadium ban, particularly as the supporter's club backed the ban that will also see Corinthians fans excluded from away games.
However, passionate supporters have gone to greater lengths to see their team. Plus with so many empty seats around them, these supporters now know what it's like to be a Wigan fan.
- Sports & Recreation