Brazil to play Bolivia in charity game for teen
SAO PAULO (AP) — Brazil will play a charity game against Bolivia on April 6 with the proceeds going to the family of the 14-year-old boy killed at a Copa Libertadores match last month.
Brazilian federation president Jose Maria Marin said Wednesday the money from the match in Santa Cruz de la Sierra will be donated to the family of Kevin Beltran Espada, who died after being hit in the face by a flare apparently set off by fans from Brazilian club Corinthians during the 1-1 draw against San Jose in the Latin American competition.
“The the best way to show our solidarity is to have the Selecao play in Bolivia for free, with all the revenue going to the family,” he said.
Twelve Corinthians fans were arrested as suspects and remain in custody in the city of Oruro, Bolivia. They lost an appeal to be released on Tuesday.
Coach Luiz Felipe Scolari also said playing the friendly will be an important act of solidarity.
“We will show that the people of the two nations, who have always been so united in the continent, are together supporting the family and the parents who are suffering for the loss of their son,” he said.
Corinthians, the defending Copa Libertadores champion, was ordered by the South American federation to play its home matches in an empty stadium for 60 days because of the incident. That suspension was overturned last week, though, but the club’s supporters are prohibited from attending away matches for the next 18 months.
Scolari will only pick players from Brazilian clubs for the friendly, the team’s second-to-last match before it hosts the Confederations Cup from June 15-30.
“It’s always important to be able to put the national team together, especially in a friendly just before the Confederations Cup,” said Scolari, who led Brazil to the 2002 World Cup title. “This will give us a chance to observe more players.”
Among those expected to make the team are Neymar and Ronaldinho.
Scolari took over the national team in December after Mano Menezes was fired. His first match in charge was a 2-1 loss at England in February.
Brazil will play Italy in Geneva on March 21 and Russia four days later at Chelsea’s Stamford Bridge in London.
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