Chilean soccer team involved in melee with police
At least half a dozen players from Chile's under-20soccer team were handcuffed and taken back into BMO Field in Toronto Thursday night following a melee with police.
The commotion started as Chilean players were about to greet fans after their 3-0 defeat against Argentina in the semifinal match of the FIFA Under-20 World Cup.
Police prevented the players from reaching the large fence that separated them from theirfans.
As pushing and shoving began, a Chilean official said police used pepper spray and a Taser gun to subdue the players and some other members of the nation's soccer delegation.
A FIFA spokesman said early Friday that police made no arrests, butthe entire Chilean team was detainedat the stadium after the incident.
"All [Chilean] players have been released from custody of the police to care of the Chilean delegation," FIFA spokesman John Schumacher said.
Canadian Press photographerNathan Denette witnessed the ruckus outside the stadium.
"All of a sudden, we looked over and there was a big brawl that breaks out, between four or five people," Denette said. "Next thing you know, the bus just unloads and there's eight, 10 players come off the bus and there's just fists flying everywhere, between the cops, the security guards, a couple of ladies were involved that were security.
'It looked like a big dogfight.'— CP photographer Nathan Denette
"It looked like a big dogfight. People throwing fists and cops with their billy clubs out and then all of a sudden it got out of control and a police officer grabbed his Taser gun and Tasered someone — I don't know if he was a player or if he was part of the team. As soon as that happened, it got even worse."
Awindow of the bus carrying Chile's team was smashed and the bus was later towed away.
"We heard this big bang … it was just commotion after commotion after commotion," Denette said.
"Some of the players were trying to get players back on the bus, but some were furious. They were trying to get back off the bus. And then they opened up the windows on the bus and were throwing things at the officers. And then all of sudden, they were trying to grab them from the inside of the bus. And it just escalated."
Police eventually handcuffed several players and escorted them back to the dressing room, with some bloodied and screaming. The players involved in the melee remained at the stadium several hours after the game ended.
Two Chilean players were ejected during their loss to Argentina. German referee Wolfgang Stark handed out 11 yellow and red cards on the night — nine to the Chileans — and Chile's coaching staff had to keep their players from physically abusing the official once the game was over.
"The players are still in the dressing room and we don't know what's going to happen next," Colin Linford, president of the Canadian Soccer Association, told the Canadian Press.
Linford said police had taken charge of the situation despite the presence of FIFA officials.
AFIFA news conference is scheduled for later Friday, where more details are expected to be released.