RIO DE JANEIRO - Just 40 days before the country hosts the World Cup, the ugly side of Brazilian football was on view Saturday after a fan died when he was struck by a toilet bowl thrown following a match in the host city of Recife.
Santa Cruz, a second tier side based in the northeastern coastal city, had drawn with visiting Parana late Friday when violence erupted outside the Arruda stadium, across town from a brand new World Cup venue.
Some ripped out toilet bowls and threw them at fans congregated below, fatally injuring one, a police spokesman said.
Brazil's Tribunal for Sporting Justice (STJD) immediately opened an investigation and ruled the Arruda stadium be closed pending its outcome after the latest in a series of violent football-related incidents in the country.
Police named the dead man as Paulo Ricardo Gomes da Silva.
His mother, Joelma, told local radio: "They killed my son and me too - I would not wish the pain I am suffering today on anybody."
Local television said Da Silva had become embroiled in a quarrel with organised groups of opposing fans following a match that drew about 8,000 supporters.
Brazil international striker Fred, who recently took a stand against organised fan groups including those at his own club Fluminense after some physically threatened him, decried the Recife fatality.
"This is another sad chapter of violence which reinforces the need for immediate changes in the relationship between clubs and fans in Brazil," Fred said in a post to social media.
Urging the game to present a united anti-hooligan front, Fred said the incident "reinforces our great struggle against this faceless enemy that saddens a sport (which is) a symbol of our country worldwide."