Coach, players taken to police station after brawl

Coach, players taken to police station after brawl

Published Jul. 22, 2010 3:41 p.m. ET

Former Brazil coach Emerson Leao and three of his Goias players were taken to a police station for interrogation after a confrontation with reporters in a Brazilian league match.

Leao and the players were not arrested, but authorities said they will face a criminal process for their role in the brawl after Goias' 2-2 draw with Vitoria on Wednesday in Salvador.

Television images showed Leao arguing with a radio reporter and then shoving him out of the way. Striker Rafael Moura later was seen throwing a hard punch at the reporter, sending him to the ground.

Other players and reporters got involved as Vitoria fans cheered loudly from the stands, and police had to intervene quickly to keep the altercation from escalating. Goias team directors and security guards also were in the melee


The altercation apparently began because Leao was upset with the refereeing and didn't want to be interviewed after the match. Goias was leading 2-0 before allowing Vitoria to rally and equalize near the end.

Leao was heard complaining that the reporter, Roque Santos, was ''putting the microphone to my mouth.'' He then raised his finger near the reporter's face before pushing him away.

Santos was upset, and some players came to help separate the two. But others went after the journalist, throwing punches and trying to kick him. Moura ran at full speed toward Santos and struck him with a powerful right-handed punch.

Leao also later tried to go after Santos but was not able to get near him.

Santos also went to the police station to talk to authorities after the match.

He told other local media that he just went to interview the coach to ask what happened to his team.

''They started to hit me, they are cowards,'' Santos was quoted as saying by another radio station.

Santos said he plans to sue Leao, Moura and the other two Goias players allegedly involved, midfielder Romerito and striker Marcao. Moura reportedly later tried to apologize to Santos for punching him.

Leao did not talk to other reporters after the brawl.

Goias president Syd de Oliveira accused local media of ''provoking'' Leao and his players.

''Everyone saw that the reporter struck Leao with the microphone when the coach was trying to talk to the referee,'' Oliveira told local media.

Leao, a former Brazil goalkeeper who coached the national team in 2002, is known for his temper on and off the field. He often got into altercations with fans, team directors and the media throughout his coaching career. In 2008, he was attacked and beaten by a group men connected to his former team Santos when he visited the club.

Goias is only 14th in the 20-team Brazilian league standings.