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Footballer arrested for racism

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April 14, 2005 15:22 IST

An Argentine footballer was arrested on the pitch for racially insulting an Brazilian opponent during a Libertadores Cup match in Sao Paulo on Wednesday, his coach and media reports said.

Quilmes defender Leandro Desabato was arrested at the end of his team's 3-1 defeat by Sao Paulo over an incident involving rival striker Grafite during the first half, media reports said.

Desabato was taken to a nearby police station with club officials for questioning, Brazilian television said.

Grafite also went to the station to make a statement.

The incident happened in first half injury time.

Desabato appeared to make a comment to Grafite who pushed his hand in Desabato's face.

Grafite was sent off along with Quilmes midfielder Carlos Arano, who involved in the incident, but no action was taken against Desabato by the referee.

Quilmes left the field at the end of the game amid chaotic scenes which continued outside their dressing-room where dozens of Brazilian cameramen and photographers waited for the visiting players.

"There's no need for all this chaos," Quilmes coach Gustavo Alfaro told a media conference. "A football match should start and finish on the pitch."

"This has all been handled in the wrong way. It was an unnecessary spectacle -- [for the police] to come on to the field in front of 50,000 or 60,000 people when the player's pulse-rate is still high, he's just lost a game."

"There should be a different way of dealing with this. Nobody has benefited from this."

Alfaro added: "I hope that the next time a Brazilian team comes to play in Argentina, their directors, their players, their staff and their journalists are well treated, without all this chaos."


Brian Homewood
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