(adds Botafogo president comments)
By Brian Homewood
RIO DE JANEIRO, June 1 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.
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
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)