Corinthians trio hire bodyguards after fans attack
Three players with Brazil's Corinthians have hired bodyguards after a weekend attack by fans on the squad, it emerged Wednesday.
The attack, which saw dozens of fans angry at poor recent form invade the club's training facilities and physically threaten players, shocked the public and damaged Brazil's reputation four months before it hosts the World Cup.
Former AC Milan star Alexandre Pato, Emerson Sheik and Peru striker Paolo Guerrero were the main targets of the hooligans, who forced the players to barricade themselves in the dressing room.
The club's director of football Ronaldo Ximenes told local daily Folha de Sao Paulo: "Corinthians looks after the physical safety of the players when they are on the club premises."
During the World Cup, Iran will use the same training facility.
Saturday's attack, which followed a five-goal thumping by Santos, is the latest in several outbreaks of football violence.
Brazil was already reeling under an outbreak of crowd trouble in December at a match between Atletico Paraenense and Vasco da Gama.
The attack on Corinthians, who were FIFA World Club Cup champions in 2012 -- Guerrero scored the winner against Chelsea -- saw the squad threaten a strike ahead of weekend action.
The squad meanwhile released a statement which read: "We know this is not the first time - but it must be the last that individuals linked to hardline fan groups invade private property, attack players and club employees and threaten them with weapons."
The initial strike threat receded under pressure from broadcaster Globo television and also club management -- the latter fearing a punishment even extending to relegation for not fulfilling fixtures.
Chairman Mario Gobbi said the club did not seek to carry out surveillance of fans but would send a report on Saturday's violence to the relevant authorities.
"Rather than 10, we shall deploy 30 security personnel to improve player security," a club spokesman told AFP ahead of Wednesday's game against Bragantino.
Other recent incidents include Santos fans last week attacking the car of chairman Otilio Rodrigues to protest reported financial irregularities in the transfer last May of superstar Neymar to Barcelona.
Related Corinthian News