CONMEBOL TO INVESTIGATE GREMIO ARENA CRUSH

Conmebol will investigate what caused a stadium crush in southern Brazil that resulted in several fans being injured.

Five people were hospitalised on Wednesday when fencing at the Gremio Arena in Porto Alegre collapsed during a stampede in Gremio's home Copa Libertadores' match against Liga de Quito from Ecuador.

Disciplinary tribunal chief of Conmebol, the South American football's governing body, Adrian Leiza, said: "Conmebol's disciplinary unit has initiated a process against Gremio, notifying the club to present its arguments about what happened."

Among the sanctions facing Gremio is a large fine, the relocation of a home match to a neutral venue or a home game behind closed doors.

The club's lawyer, Gabriel Vieira, denied Conmebol had already laid charges over the incident.

"There is the risk of punishment but we haven't received any formal notification. We are going to defend our case," Vieira said.

All the five fans taken to hospital have been released having suffered only minor injuries.

The crush occurred when supporters in an unseated area of the stadium celebrated a goal by performing an "avalanche" causing fencing to collapse and dozens of people to fall onto the venue's playing surface.

Brazil's football confederation (CBF) chief Jose Maria Marin admitted on Thursday that the incident had highlighted the need for Brazil to improve health and safety standards ahead of next year's FIFA World Cup.

Posted on 06/02/2013