RIO DE JANEIRO – Racist abuse against an opposition player. This was the reason given by the Brazilian police for arresting Leandro Desabato, an Argentine defender with Quilmes. Desabato was arrested at the end of the Copa Libertadores (the South American equivalent of the Champions League) match between San Paolo and Quilmes, which ended in a 3-1 win for San Paolo.
The incident that led to the arrest took place at the end of the first half. Desabato started an argument with the Brazilian striker Grafite. A fierce exchange of words between the two ensued, in which the Argentine is alleged to have made some racist remarks. Grafite thrust his hands into Desabato's face and was sent off along with Carlos Arano, another Quilmes player. The referee took no action against Desabato, however.
At the end of the game a vociferous discussion broke out, leading to chaotic scenes outside the dressing rooms which continued until the police intervened and escorted Desabato away. Grafite was also taken to the police statement to make a statement.
The Quilmes coach subsequently complained about the way the incident had been handled, saying: “This chaos was totally unnecessary. The game begins and ends with the referee's whistle. I hope we will treat the Brazilian team better next time in Argentina.”