Football: Corinthians hit with stadium ban after fan death

Brazilian club Corinthians have been ordered to play their home Libertadores Cup matches behind closed doors until further notice after a young Bolivian fan was killed by a flare at their game against San Jose.

A spokesman for Conmebol, South American football's governing body, told AFP that the ban will stand until Bolivian police have clarified exactly what caused the death of 14-year-old Kevin Beltran, who was supposedly hit on the head by a flare thrown by travelling Corinthians fans at the game, which ended 1-1.

Twelve supporters of the Brazilian club are being held in the city of Oruro, 240km south of La Paz, on suspicion of causing the death of Beltran.

However, Corinthians, who beat Chelsea in the final of the Club World Cup in Japan in December, say they will protest Conmebol's decision as it is "unfair" on the vast majority of their fans.

"The management of Sport Club Corinthians would like to assure fans that they will exhaust every avenue open to them legally to overturn the decision imposed by Conmebol," the club said in a statement.

It added that "the sanction imposed is unfair because it goes directly against the presumption of innocence."

Fans of the Sao Paulo club will also be prevented from buying tickets for away matches.

However, Corinthians, who claim to have sold 83,000 tickets already for their first three group games, say they are confident the decision will be overturned in time for supporters to attend their home match with Colombian side Millonarios next Wednesday.

Corinthians won the Libertadores Cup for the first time in their history last year.