Fabio Rochemback reportedly arrested in Brazil for his involvement in a cock-fighting ring

Ex-Middlesbrough midfielder Fabio Rochemback arrested over cock-fighting allegation

Brazilian ace Fabio Rochemback has reportedly been arrested on suspicion of 'being involved in an illegal cock-fighting ring'.

The one time Barcelona prodigy and former Middlesbrough star is said to have been held after police raided an alleged fighting event where 89 roosters were confiscated along with around £25,000 in cash.

Around 57 of 147 people at the scene were arrested and charged with environmental crime - including Rochemback - local media reports.

The penalty in Brazil includes a hefty fine and imprisonment for between three months to a year.

It is not the first time that 35-year-old Rochemback's name has been linked to the illegal 'blood sport'.

His farm was raided in 2011 when several fighting cocks were widely reported to have been discovered by police.

The alleged latest incident occurred in Rio Grande do Sul, Brazil's southernmost state.

Cockfighting is classed as a blood sport, usually between two cocks, held in a ring called a cockpit.

It was banned in England back in 1835 - and in Scotland in 1895 - although critics say it continues today, underground in the UK and more widely abroad.

Despite also being banned, cock-fighting is big business in rural areas of Brazil - with huge sums being bet on the outcome - where animal fighting is categorised as an environmental crime.

Rochemback made 68 appearances for Middlesbrough betweeen 2005 and 2008 before returning to Sporting CP where he had previously been on loan from Barcelona.

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