Ex-Barcelona man Rochemback arrested on cockfight charges

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Fighting cocks, marijuana and a rifle were found at the scene of an alleged cockfight, although the ex-player's father denies Rochemback was involved

Former Barcelona and Brazil midfielder Fabio Rochemback was taken into custody at the weekend for allegedly participating in an illegal cockfight, police have confirmed.

The 35-year-old was arrested along with more than 100 others in Palmeiras das Missoes, Rio Grande do Sul, in an operation headed by civil and military police. 

More than 100,000 reais in cash (roughly €27,000) and 89 fighting cocks were also confiscated in the operation, along with promotional materials for fights, marijuana and a rifle. 

"It was a huge event, an inter-state affair, with people from Santa Catarina and Parana," promoter Marcos Eduardo Rauber told Globo.

"There were a lot of people and a lot of money moving around. Everyone was caught in the act, some betting, others just watching. 

"The participants will now be exposed, but everyone was arrested for environmental crimes."

It is not the first time that Rochemback has been linked to the bloodsport. 

In 2011 the player, who ended his playing career in China four years ago, was the subject of a police raid on his property that discovered a number of cocks bred for fighting. 

Under Brazilian law cockfighting is classified as an environmental crime, an offence that is punishable by one to three years in prison, although fines and community service are a more common outcome.

Rochemback's father has denied the allegations, stating that his son was not present when the alleged cockfight took place. 

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"Fabio was with me in our house in Soledade, but later he returned to Porto Alegre," Juarez Rochemback told reporters. 

As well as Barcelona and Chineser side Dalian, Rochemback represented Internacional, Sporting Lisbon, Middlesbrough and Gremio during a long career that spanned three continents.

He was also capped by Brazil on seven occasions, and took both Sporting and Middlesbrough to the final of the UEFA Cup in consecutive seasons in 2004-05 and 2005-06.

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