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October 30, 2014
Monday, March 31, 2014

Measures to stop hooligans?

By Eric Weil / Sportsworld

The presidents of River Plate and Boca Juniors, Rodolfo D’Onofrio and Daniel Angelici respectively, went to the National Congress last week with proposals to make a law against violence and get rid of soccer hooligans. This is rather ironic as these two presidents have steadfastly refused to get rid of their hooligan gangs which are among the most dangerous. Both have said that they cannot get rid of their official hooligan gang, because they are club members — which, of course, is not true because the committee could expel them for enough damage they have done to their club already.

As far as could be found out, one proposal was that the state, not clubs, should be responsible for keeping out hooligans on the list banning people from going to stadiums. That is fine, but the state will not do it, especially with many police being hooligan accomplices. Secondly, the lists supplied by clubs never include hooligans of their “official” gang. Thirdly, they suggested a law should be created for hooligans, which is also fine, but...

Stiff punishments should be included, but they will know that a new penal code, presently being discussed by Congress, lightens, instead of stiffening, a lot of punishments and many of the few handed down to hooligans are not being carried out.

Another bill submitted to the Buenos Aires Province Legislature asks for hooligans to be considered criminals, which is merely calling them what they are, so that all activity carried out by hooligans — ticket resale’s, food sales at stadiums, car park charges, drugs of course, etc., — be considered illegal. All these proposals are fine as long as they really end in jail sentences which rarely happens.

Meanwhile, Olé’s journalist Gustavo Grabia, who continually writes about the activities of hooligan fans, seems to be giving up the ghost! The other day, he wrote that the only way to end the hooligan problem was for real fans to stop going to matches which would end with the hooligans in stadiums alone and the clubs losing money. That will never happen because you will never get all fans to agree not to go. A reader is more drastic. Matches should be played in completely empty stadiums, he wrote, so that these hooligans will have to carry out their “activities” outside soccer. That will never happen either. Will anything?

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