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Nov 12, 2009

Cerro face severe penalties over crowd violence

Paraguay's Cerro Porteno face serious sanctions after acts of violence by their fans at a Copa Sudamericana match, the South American Football Confederation (CSF) said on Thursday.

Fans threw a hail of objects at visiting Brazilian side Fluminense and Argentine referee Hector Baldassi after Cerro's 1-0 home defeat in the first leg of their semi-final on Wednesday night and a policeman was hit on the head.

The Fluminense players and Baldassi and his linesmen had to wait for more than 20 minutes in the middle of the pitch after the final whistle before they could get to the changing rooms.

"The bad conduct of the Cerro Porteno public is lamentable. It's an act of vandalism," CSF executive secretary Francisco Figueredo told local radio station Primero de Marzo. "We'll have to take drastic measures to prohibit the Cerro team from taking part (in the tournament) or make them play behind closed doors. We can't permit a situation like last night's to happen in all Cerro's matches."

Paraguayan league title holders Cerro had their General Pablo Rojas stadium reinstated for Wednesday's match after an 18-month suspension since April 2008 following a similar incident. They were also fined the maximum $20,000.

The Asuncion-based CSF will take a decision in the case at an executive committee meeting on Nov. 24.

Even if Cerro win next week's second leg in Rio de Janeiro they will not be able to use their stadium, which does not meet CSF size requirements for a continental final.

They would have play the home leg of the final at the Defensores del Chaco stadium where Paraguay play their international matches.

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