UPDATE 1-Soccer-Players fight with police during match in Brazil

Mon Jun 2, 2008 2:28am BST

(adds Botafogo president comments)

By Brian Homewood

RIO DE JANEIRO, June 1 (Reuters) - A player was arrested after being sent off in a Brazilian championship match and riot police used pepper spray and truncheons in fights with his team mates on the pitch on Sunday.

Botafogo's match away to Nautico in Recife was interrupted for 12 minutes by the fighting, which ended with Botafogo defender Andre Luis being bundled out of the stadium with his hands behind his back by around 10 officers.

Andre Luis was taken to a mobile police station where he was arrested along with club president Bebeto de Freitas. Both were released after questioning.

"Botafogo are outraged at the way we were treated here," De Freitas told reporters. "Footballers are not bandits, and are not to be kicked and punched. This has to stop.

"The player was wrong, he will be punished and suspended, we have sporting legislation to deal with this.

"What is not acceptable is for him to have pepper in his face or be prodded in the back with a truncheon.

The trouble broke out when Andre Luis was sent off after being given a second yellow card for a tackle from behind.

ANGRY GESTURES

As he left the pitch, the furious player made gestures to Nautico supporters and kicked a plastic bottle into the stands.

Television pictures showed him being surrounded by riot police before one grabbed him from behind and immobilised him.

As other Botafogo players intervened, Andre Luis broke away and a free-for-all ensued between players and around 20 officers.

Andre Luis was recaptured and taken away via an exit which led him through Nautico supporters.

Botafogo officials said that two players were treated after having pepper spray used against them.

A police spokesman told Brazilian television that Andre Luis had been arrested for aggressive behaviour after kicking a plastic bottle into the crowd and for disobeying authority.

Club president De Freitas was also arrested for disobeying authority at the police station after swearing at officers.

"He (Andre Luis) kept pushing us and we used the necessary force," the official said. "The police will intervene every time there is a crime."

Nautico went on to win the game 3-0.

(Editing by Ed Osmond)

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