Officers showed restraint in brawl with team: Probe

An internal Toronto police investigation has found officers acted professionally “with an immense amount of restraint” during a post-match brawl at a Under-20 World Cup soccer game despite being “punched, kicked, spat on and kicked” by members of the Chilean team, says Chief Bill Blair.


And despite conduct he described as “assaultive,” Blair is defending the decision by the officer in charge that night to release the nine players from custody without laying criminal charges.


“It is available to the police to exercise discretion,” said Blair, adding the duty inspector took into account the “emotions attached to the game,” the fact a tournament was in progress and that world soccer body FIFA officials had already agreed to pay for the $35,000 in damages to the team’s rented bus.


The officers involved, “many of whom had been punched and kicked and spat upon also agreed, under the circumstances, to allow the tournament to continue and players were released into the custody of team officials.”


Blair held a news conference yesterday to release the details of the investigation into the aftermath of the July 19 semi-final match between Argentina and Chile, carried out by officers with the force’s professional standards branch.