Conmebol launch probe into police attack

Rio de Janeiro, April 7 (IANS) Argentina’s Arsenal de Sarandi could be forced to play home matches at a neutral venue after their players were involved in a violent confrontation with Brazilian riot police last week.

South American football’s governing body Conmebol announced Saturday it had launched an investigation into the incident and gave Arsenal until Monday to present their defence, reports Xinhua.

In a statement, Conmebol said defenders Damian Perez and Martin Nervo faced penalties of up to three matches each. Arsenal also face a fine and the prospect of losing the right to play at home.

The incident occurred after the final whistle of Atletico Mineiro’s 5-2 Copa Libertadores victory over Arsenal in the Brazilian city of Belo Horizonte April 3. A group of players from the visiting side vented their anger at a cordon of armed police, who had formed a protective barrier around the match officials.

After being kicked and struck with objects, police responded by aiming rubber bullet guns at the Arsenal players.

A policewoman and journalist were injured in the clashes while Arsenal players are said to have destroyed the visitors’ dressing room at the Arena Independencia.

Eight Arsenal players were held in police custody Wednesday night and released Thursday morning after paying a fine of $15,000.

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