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September 21, 2014
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Hooligan scene has changed

Boca Juniors’ fans cheer during a league soccer match against Vélez Sarsfield last year.
By Eric Weil / Sportsworld
So must way of combating them

The soccer hooligan scene has changed in the last few years and so must the way of combating them. Instead of fighting gangs of other clubs, they fight each other for the spoils of their dirty dealings. At least there is a reason for while fighting hooligans of other clubs makes no sense except, as mentioned before, they are just wild animals with little brain capacity.

As a result of this change, the way to combat hooligans must also change, most importantly by stopping all channels of funds getting to them as this is today the main reason for being a hooligan. Clubs and police must not give them any type of help, the Argentine FA (AFA) must be intervened, authorities must stop them being parking attendants at matches and their drug dealings, etc. But none of this will happen as club officials, the government and politicians need them for their political ends.

While government security secretary, Sergio Berni continues to struggle with the idea of letting visiting team fans into stadiums for fear of fighting with local fans (hooligans), the fights are internal gang struggles and, in any case, the prohibition is no use because fans of the visiting team can get tickets as neutrals. Berni also said that if he found that the AFA were giving hooligans World Cup tickets, he would stop police going to local soccer matches — which would have stopped play. He never did try to find out — which Brazilian authorities managed to do in far less time, finding tickets stamped by the AFA — and continues to send police to matches.

Not long before the start of the World Cup, the game’s international federation, FIFA sent packets containing thousands of tickets to the AFA which had no identifying names on them, although formerly it was said that tickets could only be obtained online with the buyer’s identification. Apparently the AFA sold 1,200 tickets (to whom?). Members of the Hinchas Unidas Argentinas (United Argentine Fans) composed of members from various, mostly lower division. Hooligan club gangs said that only 150 members would go to Brazil, because the AFA gave the rest of the “promised 600 tickets” to gangs of big clubs.

Rafael Di Zeo, former leader of the Boca Juniors gang who walked free from a series of court cases because of his political connections, had said he expected to go with about 500 Boca hooligans. Where were they going to get tickets? “We know where to get them,” he said. An Independiente member (Richard Pavón) has said they had 150 tickets so far given to them by politicians and club officials. Well, Mr. Berni, now you know!

River Plate refuse to ban any of their hooligans from going to matches. One of the leaders (Martín Araujo) of the gang which threatened referee Sergio Pezzota the day River Plate were relegated over three years ago, faces an “unfinished” court investigation although the gang were photographed. Since then he has also been caught with 100 match tickets and 10,000 pesos and said they were given to him by the club. Another gang member (Andrés Fleitas) collected money from fans on match days and let them in through turnstiles which had been freed by the club.

Last year, there was a scandal at River Plate due to tickets reserved for members going to the black market, but club officials, including then president Daniel Passarella, were also under suspicion. The case was close to being solved by prosecutor José Maria Campagnoli when he was taken off the case which had more to do with his another investigation of money being smuggled out of the country connected with the government. Now the only one being investigated is Passarella for fraud, but no hooligans pointed at by Campagnoli’s investigation. One of the suspected hooligans said: “As long as Cristina is here, nothing will happen to us.”

Campagnoli had also proved the links between hooligans, politicians, club officials and the police when he was taken off the case and suspended for some ridiculous judicial procedure mistake.

Earlier, a very similar case occurred at Boca Juniors of tickets reserved for members going to the black market via their hooligan gang and also the stadium entry system failing just when the hooligan gang entered the stadium for free. Officials and employees were involved. A couple of employees were detained not for long, and no hooligans. Nothing further was heard of the investigation.

These are just a few examples of hooligan and club relations.

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