Scary scene breaks out as protesters clash with players during friendly

Maccabi Haifa players and pro-Palestinian protesters clashed during a preseason friendly between Haifa and Lille in Austria, with the incident caught on video.

According to the Jerusalem Post, a group of male fans stormed the pitch in the 85th minute waving Palestine flags. Punches were thrown and profanities exchanged between Haifa players and the pitch invaders, but security eventually removed the protesters.

Thankfully, it appears everyone emerged from the fracas uninjured.

(H/T Deadspin).


World Cup protests are smaller but still emerging in Brazil



It took a full two weeks at the World Cup for me to see my first demonstration in Brazil. It had been a long day. Following an early-morning flight on the heels of the USA-Portugal game in Manaus, a four-hour plane ride away, a colleague and I had scurried to the Estadio de Sao Paulo to catch the Netherlands-Chile match — insofar as you can scurry in this snarled metropolis at the edge of this tortuous country.

We caught a media bus back after the game, which would drop us off at a hotel close to our own. But as we pulled along a major thoroughfare taking us into our neighborhood — the swanky Barra Funda — the driver stopped the bus cold and opened the doors. In the middle of the road. This bus was going no further.

It took us a minute to realize why. Up the road, people were marching, protestors surrounded by a human wall of police in full riot gear, barely discernible through the black uniforms. It all looked innocuous enough from afar: A few hundred people, banging drums, chanting, and holding aloft a lone red banner. But there’s no predicting how a protest will turn out. They are lightly flammable. The Brazilians’ rage slumbers just below the surface and rouses at unexpected times. In recent days, people have started taking to the streets again. Some protests have turned violent.

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Mexican team stages paper-bag protest


Is this the most bizarre team photo of the season? Of all time?

Players of Mexican second-division side Celaya posed for their team photo against Merida with brown paper bags over their heads in protest of non-payment. Celaya has reportedly not paid their players for more than two months. Many of the players drew dollar signs onto their bags, while some wrote “págame,” or “pay me.”

In the States, we often see fans of the very worst sports teams wear paper bags on their heads after stretches of putrid, literally “unwatchable” displays. Now, we’re seeing that athletes can deploy them for their own protests as well. Ah, the many uses of a paper bag!

Image and H/T: 101GG


Legia Warsaw fans protest UEFA sanctions with intense display

Away goals put Steaua Bucharest into the Champions League Group Stage over Polish side Legia Warsaw after a 2-2 draw on Tuesday. Although Steaua squandered a two-goal lead and let Legia battle back, the real fireworks started well before the opening kick:

UEFA, prompted by what the administrative body deemed “racist behavior by supporters,” sanctioned Legia Warsaw by closing a section of the stands in the team’s home arena, Polish Army Stadium, and fined the team €30,000.

The fans responded with a giant middle finger in the form of this massive demonstration, unfurling a large tifo that read “UEFA Ultra Extreme Fanatical Atmosphere,” before giving way to an onslaught of flares and fire crackers.

It’s certainly impressive and intimidating, and there are plenty of reasons to be upset with UEFA, but it’s important to remember the ban was imposed because of alleged racist behavior. So, no matter how cool it is to “stick it to the man,” maybe Legia fans should put their efforts toward ridding racism from their support section. Maybe.

(h/t Deadspin)


Trecker’s Brazil Travels: Games, protests take time off


Photo: Jamie Trecker/FOX Soccer

By: Jamie Trecker, FOXSoccer.com


It’s the Festa de Sao Joao this weekend here on the Brazilian coast. Up and down the miles of beachfront, people are setting off fireworks, lighting bonfires, roasting various meats and generally being silly.

The Festa de Sao Joao is nominally a religious holiday. In Portugal, the Feast of Saint John is a major occasion on the calendar; apparently the same day stops traffic in Goa, India. Here, it is a mid-winter party also called the “festa junina,” which translates exactly to what you think it does. Up here, it is a two-week carnival – it rivals Carnival in importance in the state of Pernambuco – and it is celebrated with country festivals and large outdoor concerts. People also dress up in a simulacrum of “country” attire, which in the cases I’ve seen, means wearing hats with fake pigtails and penciling on freckles.

While there may be some religion involved here this weekend (and I am perhaps the wrong correspondent to ask about such matters) what I have seen is go-for-it, hoedown partying. Saturday, horse-drawn carts carrying stacks of firewood came into the center of Recife’s beach neighborhoods, and dumped cords right onto the sidewalk. Some of them remained there, to be set alight after sunset. It’s a bit jarring to walk by a blaze on a sidewalk, especially when it’s right outside a welding supply store, but that’s apparently all cool this weekend. They did look festive.

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Hacked: FIFA World Cup website features dancing Sepp Blatter

It appears the protests in Brazil have made their way into the digital world.

When fans visited the FIFA 2014 World Cup website on Sunday night, they were greeted with a banner saying “we want a fair world cup” as well as a dancing Sepp Blatter in the middle of the screen.

The hack has since been fixed, but the protestors certainly got their point across.

H/T 101GG


Trecker’s Brazilian Travels Day 4: Worth the fight


Photo: Jamie Trecker / FOX Soccer

By Jamie Trecker


Brazilian security forces sent out the alert at 8:14 local time: avoid the TV tower and stay off the roads.

Security forces worked to “sanitize” the area around the Garrincha, closing off roads, trying to divert cars and pedestrians. They separated the people into two streams: the folks in yellow, and everyone else. The ones in yellow were going to see their national team play; everyone else was going to sit in the road and block the way in.

Some 57,000 security forces have been deployed across the country. I know, because I got a press release that was supposed to be reassuring. It sounded desperate instead.

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Brazilians protest outside stadium prior to Confederations Cup

This is not what the Confederation Cup hosts were hoping for the day before the tournament kicks off.

Several hundred protestors were in action, lighting tires on fire outside of Brazil’s Estadio Nacional Mane Garrincha and blocking police and firefighters from extinguishing the flames.

Our Jamie Trecker was on the ground to give a full report of the protest.