FIFA president Sepp Blatter said the incidents that took place at the aborted Copa Sudamericana final in Sao Paulo last week should give Brazilian organizers
of the 2014 World Cup pause to consider what can go wrong if they don't take the proper security measures.
Wednesday's abandoned match between Sao Paolo and Tigre of Argentina in the final of the Copa Sudamericana -- South America's second most important club competition -- was a black mark for all concerned.
The game was already deteriorating late in the first half when Tigre's Lucas Orban punched young Sao Paulo star Lucas out of the sight of the referee. Badly outplayed and trailing 2-0 after only 28 minutes, Tigre players scuffled with their Brazilian opponents on the way off the field at the half.
What happened after that isn't entirely clear, but Tigre's Damian Albil claimed 15 security guards ambushed him and his teammates in the visiting locker room and beat them with batons. He also said one of guards pulled a gun on him, pointing it against his chest. "It was a miracle no one was seriously injured," he said.
Tigre refused to play the second half, and Sao Paulo was awarded the title. The Brazilian club's president, Juvenal Juvencio, dismissed the accusations. "They were going to lose by a big score," Juvencio told the club's website. "Our biggest victory is the fact that the Argentines ran away."
What or what didn't happen was not to the point to Blatter.
"Such an incident that has just happened is a warning for organizers of the World Cup of what can happen," said Blatter. "But security is not a matter of the sports organization but of the authorities be it the police or the army. We can provide guidelines but finally it is up to the authorities."
FIFA has some very serious security issues to tackle in terms of the organization of the 2014 World Cup. One challenge: the World Cup will require organizers to certify and train 30,000 security officers.
"FIFA has full confidence in the security arrangements developed," it said in a statement issued after the events at Morumbi Stadium.
FIRST STADIUM INAUGURATED. The Arena Castelao in Fortaleza was officially inaugurated on Sunday, making it the first World Cup stadium to be stamped for readiness. Given how sensitive Brazil organizers are about the progress -- or lack thereof -- on stadium projects, the opening was treated as a big deal.
Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff unveiled a plaque marking the completion of the renovation on the stadium and kicked out the ceremonial first ball.
The 63,903-seat stadium -- renovated at a cost of $250 million -- is Brazil’s first 2014 World Cup stadium to be inaugurated. The stadium, which includes underground parking for 4,200 cars, will host six World Cup and three 2013 Confederations Cup matches. Fortaleza is the farthest northeast of the 12 World Cup venues.
Next to be inaugurated: the refurbished Minerao Stadium in Belo Horizonte.
BRAZIL 2014 POSTERS: FORTALEZA. The Castelao Arena -- filled with images of Fortaleza's major landmarks -- and its beaches -- the region is a major tourist destination -- are the main features of the Fortaleza poster.