RIO DE JANEIRO — The excitement surrounding the World Cup reached a fever pitch on Wednesday when nearly 100 Chile fans busted through the gate to the media entrance at Maracana Stadium, cracked a glass door to get into the media center and then broke through several partitions that lead to the locker rooms and field.
The Brazil Federal Police announced Wednesday night that they detained 85 foreign citizens "who invaded the FIFA Media Center." They have 72 hours to leave the country. If they don't, the "foreign citizens in question will be subject to summary deportation by the Federal Police." Several others who attempted to enter the stadium over the downed barrier were quickly escorted from the stadium area.
The fans did not have tickets and were seeking entrance to the Spain-Chile match, which was scheduled for 30 minutes later.
Media raced to follow the crowd as they barreled through the maze of desks and bodies and found themselves in the hallway that leads to the field and locker rooms. The sheer size of the group caused more partitions and TVs that were affixed to tables to topple into the media room while security personnel raced toward the commotion.
The entire scene lasted about 20 minutes before the mob was wrangled in the hallway and forced to sit against the wall while security stood over them and a horde of media with cameras and cell phones watched from tabletops above.
Earlier in the day, Yahoo Sports caught video of Chilean fans railing against FIFA and the high cost of tickets to get into the match.
“We were offered the ticket at six hundred thousand pesos in Chile,” a Chile fan said from outside the stadium near where the press gate stood and was ultimately stormed. According to the fan, tickets were being offered to Chilean fans at nearly $1,100 each by scalpers and ticket brokers.
“It is [illegally] sold by FIFA. And we that we came, we made the effort, we buy plane tickets, we slept on the street ... there are people who come with backpacks ... we do not have tickets for the match. FIFA needs to change and forbid ticket reselling. And they have to allow all Chileans [to] enter the match!”
The Chilean fans that were congregating near the media entrance stormed the area with ease because it was not heavily guarded like other parts of the stadium where armed guards stand watch for unusual and unruly behavior. In fact, in other parts of the street that surrounds the stadium, one must show a ticket or pass to continue walking the path that circles Maracana. Near the media entrance, there is no such checkpoint because there are bars for non-ticket holders across the street.
The media gate itself is a few unarmed personnel with scanners checking credentials and a couple more manning metal detectors.
There were a few injuries, mostly sustained by people caught in the melee, but none were considered serious.
The walls that were toppled over have been cordoned off with caution tape and guards to limit access to the area.
FIFA issued a vague statement condemning the act.
"The organisers of FIFA World Cup condemn these acts of violence and we will communicate further information and measures to be taken in due course."
The Chile fans seem to have a knack for storming stadiums. They also decided to rush past security before the Round of 16 game against Brazil.
- Sports & Recreation
- Maracana Stadium