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Brazil: Football fans in violent clashes

Scores of fans fought savage battles at a football match in Brazil, leaving at least three people seriously injured, Sky News reports.

Riot police fired rubber bullets to stop hundreds of supporters charging each other, before a helicopter landed on the pitch to airlift those hurt to hospital.

Play was halted for more than an hour in the Brazilian championship match between Atletico Paranaense and relegation-threatened Vasco da Gama.

There were no police inside the stadium at kick-off as a private security firm was being used and pictures showed rival fans in the half-empty venue were not segregated.

The game was held in the small Arena Joinville because Paranaense's ground is being modernized to host four matches in next year's World Cup.

Reports in Brazil said that the three people taken to hospital were in a serious, but not life-threatening, condition.

Paranaense, winning 1-0 at the time, went on to win 5-1, condemning former South American champions Vasco to relegation. Paranaense finished third to qualify for next year's Libertadores Cup.

The incidents completely overshadowed the rest of the final day of the Brazilian championship during which Vasco's Rio de Janeiro neighbours Fluminense were also relegated.

Fluminense became the first defending champions to be relegated the following season, despite a 2-1 win over Bahia in their final game.

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