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Toronto FC, Club América fined by CONCACAF after tunnel brawl

Club América defender Edson Álvarez after his team 3-1 loss to Toronto FC at BMO Field. (Dan Hamilton/USA TODAY Sports)

Toronto FC and Club América have been fined by CONCACAF after the two teams clashed in the tunnel at BMO Field during halftime of Tuesday’s Champions League semifinal first leg.

The specifics of the fines were not disclosed but competition guidelines indicate they will fall between US $2,000 and $6,000 per club.

According to Toronto coach Greg Vanney, the fracas began when a member of América’s coaching staff confronted TFC striker Sebastian Giovinco, who had won and scored a contentious penalty, as the players were returning to the locker rooms.

Vanney said that another Toronto player, Jonathan Osorio, stepped between the coach and Giovinco and was subsequently elbowed in the face.

América coach Miguel Herrera gave a different account. He claimed his goalkeeper Nicolas Marchesín, defender Bruno Valdez and fitness coach Giber Becerra had been assaulted by police officers patrolling the tunnel.

CONCACAF confirmed it would be investigating the incident and has chosen to fine both clubs. No individuals have been punished.

The confederation’s statement reads: “After due examination of the evidence gathered during their investigation and based on the Scotiabank Concacaf Champions League Regulations, and the FIFA Disciplinary Code, the Committee determined that Toronto FC and Club America clearly infringed the Competition Regulations, specifically Art. 52 of the FIFA Disciplinary Code which covers team conduct.

“In levying the fines for general team misconduct during the halftime of Tuesday’s semifinal match in Toronto, the Committee expressed that it considers the clubs’ conduct unacceptable, as it departs from the principles of Fair Play.”

No complaint regarding the officers’ conduct was lodged with the Toronto Police Service, per the Toronto Star.

Herrera was also unhappy with the performance of the match officials in Toronto’s 3-1 win and appeared to risk disciplinary action when he suggested they had been “acting like clowns”.

At the time of publication, CONCACAF had not responded to Pro Soccer USA’s request for comment as to whether or not the former Mexico coach’s comments would be or had been scrutinized.

América will host Toronto in the second leg of the tie at Estadio Azteca on Tuesday night. The winner will face either Guadalajara or the New York Red Bulls in the final.

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