08 March 2022

10 held over huge brawl that left two dozen injured at Mexican football game

08 March 2022

Authorities in Mexico said they have arrested 10 suspects over a huge brawl among football fans that left more than two dozen people injured, three critically.

Guadalupe Murguia, the interior secretary of Queretaro state, said a total of 26 people had been identified as participating in the brawl and that raids and searches with warrants were continuing in several cities to find the others.

The arrests were based on a review of videos and other evidence from the Saturday confrontation.

(Sergio Gonzalez/AP) (AP)

The state has suspended five officials after security forces at the stadium were unable to control the violence. They include police and civil defence employees, and three people responsible for planning and preparations.

The private company partly responsible for security at the stadium also had its contracts cancelled.

Police were also at the venue when the brawl occurred at a match between hosts Queretaro and Atlas, from Guadalajara, the reigning league champions.

(Sergio Gonzalez/AP) (AP)

All matches in Mexico’s top division were cancelled on Sunday and the league may impose bans on fans attending away matches.

Saturday’s match was suspended in the 62nd minute after multiple fights broke out in the stands. Security personnel opened the gates to the field so that fans, including women and children, could escape the clashes.

Three or four of the injured men remain in hospital. They may have been the three who were seen unconscious or badly beaten on the ground, being repeatedly kicked and punched in videos posted on social media.

(Sergio Gonzalez/AP) (AP)

After several minutes, some of the fights moved to the field, where some people were armed with chairs and metal bars.

One fan pulled a knife to cut the nets of one goal. Others destroyed one side’s bench and some fought in the tunnel to the field.

Enrique Alfaro, governor of Jalisco state, whose capital is Guadalajara, was asked on Monday about local press reports that the brawl may have involved local criminal gangs fighting visitors who purportedly belonged to the Jalisco drug cartel.

(Sergio Gonzalez/AP) (AP)

“What it seems to me is that what we saw was not a normal dispute between fans,” he said. “What happened there was something that looked different.”

He refused to comment on whether drug gangs were involved.

Guadalajara mayor Pablo Lemus said on Monday there was a growing consensus that teams’ “barras” — organised fan clubs that are often implicated in violence — should not be allowed to attend away matches.

(Sergio Gonzalez/AP) (AP)

“What we want to avoid is having the barras of visiting teams in the stadiums,” Mr Lemus said.

Mikel Arriola, president of the MX League, said it would be likely to adopt biometric or facial recognition systems at stadiums to identify troublemakers.

“We have to implement digital security measures to identify those who attend, starting with the barras,” he said, adding he would propose at a club owners meeting that those clubs be barred from away matches.

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