Corinthians criticise fans after training-ground incident
The board of Brazilian club Corinthians has criticised a group of fans who stormed the club's training ground on Saturday.
The mob - reported by Brazilian media to consist of around 100 supporters - are said to have turned up demanding to talk to players following their 5-1 defeat at Santos on Thursday, but ended up allegedly threatening staff, stealing belongings and damaging property.
A 15-minute conversation is thought to have taken place between the fans and head coach Mano Menezes before they left.
The club revealed players and staff had considered abandoning Sunday's clash at Ponte Preta on safety grounds, but would now be going ahead with the fixture.
"The Corinthians directors repudiate and deeply lament the acts of vandalism by a group of supporters at the training ground this morning," read a statement, which also stressed the club would assist police in trying to identify and punish the culprits.
"Shortly after these incidents, and in the face of this truculent invasion, the team momentarily did not feel safe enough to play against Ponte Preta on Sunday.
"However, on being told that the club, and consequently the Corinthians supporters and sponsors could be severely punished, the players, coaching staff and board of directors reached the conclusion that we will take the field tomorrow (Sunday).
"The board of directors repeat that we repudiate this morning's actions, in which people were attacked and threatened, belongings were stolen and the club's property was violated."
The incident draws further negative attention to Brazilian club football ahead of the World Cup, with fan violence and construction fatalities having hit the headlines in recent months.