Soccer players take to stands to brawl and fight after Copa tournament match


After a tough 1-0 loss to Colombia in the Copa América semifinal on Wednesday night at Bank of America Stadium in Charlotte, North Carolina, about a dozen soccer players from Uruguay’s national team went into the stands and brawled with some of the fans in attendance. 

The skirmish lasted several minutes before the venue’s security team members broke up the melee. Players from the Uruguay team claimed that rival fans threatened family members watching the game, which prompted the players to climb into the stands. Among the participants were one of Uruguay’s star players, Darwin Núñez, and team captain Jose Maria Gimenez.

Gimenez claimed the fans were the aggressors and that the players entered the stands to protect and defend their families.

“Let me say something before they cut you off because they won’t let us speak into the microphone. They don’t want me to say anything about what’s going on, but this is a disaster,” Gimenez said after the skirmish in the stands. “Please be careful, our families are in the stands, there are little newborn babies. It was a disaster. There was no police, and we had to defend our families.”

“This is the fault of two or three people who had a few too many drinks and don’t know how to drink,” Gimenez said.

CONMEBOL, the organizers of the Copa Cup, the governing body of South American football, condemned the incident and announced it was launching an investigation into the skirmish. 

“CONMEBOL strongly condemns any act of violence that affects football,” the organization said in a released statement after the game. “Our work is based on the conviction that soccer connects and unites us through its positive values.”

There was also a confrontation between players from both teams on the pitch after the game ended. It was the culmination of a tense, highly competitive match between the teams of the South American countries.


Marcelo Bielsa, Uruguay’s coach, discussed the altercation in a press conference after the game. He acknowledged the hostilities between the players but thought it ended once the game was over. 

“I thought that the incident ended with some argument on the midfield, and when I saw that happening, I went to the locker room,” Bielsa said. “I thought that they were thanking the fans for their support. But then I learned that there were some problems over there unfortunately.”

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