April 23, 2014
Monday, December 16, 2013

More scandal after scandal

By Eric Weil

This column was written before yesterday’s vital Initial Championship top of the table matches were played. But this most popular sport, now dominated by hooligan gangs in this country, took second place behind more scandals. First, what they call celebrations of the “Day of the Boca Juniors” fan — one wonders what they had to celebrate — in the centre of town on Thursday which turned into ugly fighting, damage and robbery. Then the police finding fireworks, 300 litres of alcohol and big flags stored underneath the stands for home fans at Vélez Sarsfield — all things not allowed into stadiums — and presumably belonging to the hooligan gang.

The Boca “feast” at the Obelisk by thousands of people left eight injured and only 25 detained. Police had bottles thrown at them, empty of course as the alcohol had already been drunk. At smaller “celebrations” in Mendoza (city and Rafaela, where the police are a bit tougher, 107 people were detained. But what’s the difference? they always let them go within a day or two. At Vélez Sarsfield, part of the stadium was still closed by the security committee at the time of writing this and they were still meeting three hours before the vital match against San Lorenzo to decide. A further inspection yesterday morning had still found fireworks stored under the stands. Visiting team fans have not been allowed at matches for some time, but there is no limit on “invitations” a club can hand out — a loophole the brainless Argentine FA (AFA) overlooked. Vélez Sarsfield expended some 8,000 “invitations”, most of which went to the hooligan gang and quickly found their way to the black market, selling at 500 to 800 pesos on the Internet. The government security committee has now invalidated the “Invitations” and the police fear trouble outside the stadium by people who spent a lot of money and can’t get in.

Vélez vice-president Julio Baldomar could make a good politician. He says he doesn’t know anything about all this and that the part of the stadium was closed because they had not quite cleared up the mess left by Stevie Wonder’s recital there. Funny man!

So who is to blame? The usual culprits — the government which sometimes gives the impression of not knowing which country they are ruling and does not put stricter laws through, the too lenient judges not even complying with the laws they have and the AFA for not complying with its laws either. Don’t blame the hooligans so much. It is difficult to teach wild animals anything. They must be caged — together with club and other officials, like Baldomar, who support them.

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