Reigning Libertadores Cup champions Corinthians have been ordered to play their upcoming home matches in the tournament behind closed doors, after their fans were accused of killing a young Bolivian supporter with a thrown firework, Brazilian media reported late on Thursday night (NZT Friday).
Bolivian police have opened an investigation after the 14-year-old was killed during San Jose’s match against the Brazilian side on Wednesday (NZT Thursday).
The move is temporary until Conmebol, the South American Football Confederation, can make a definitive ruling in the case, ESPN Brasil, O Globo and the Folha de S. Paulo newspaper reported, citing a Conmebol statement.
The Conmebol website was down, and the announcement could not be immediately confirmed.
The decision would be a major blow to Corinthians, the Sao Paulo club that won the Libertadores for the first time last July before beating Chelsea in December to win the World Club Cup.
It means their famously passionate fans will be banned from next Wednesday’s home game against Colombian side Millonarios and subsequent home matches against Sao Jose (Bolivia) and Tijuana (Mexico).
Corinthians had already boasted of selling 83,500 tickets for the three matches.
The Libertadores Cup — South America’s equivalent of Europe’s Champions League — is the biggest prize in Latin American football.