The domestic championship continues to be plagued by violence on the terraces.
By Eric Weil in Buenos Aires
Football violence is one of the biggest problems facing the modern game in Argentina so, in the latest attempt to deal with the situation, Dutch crowd-control expert Otto Adanga was brought in by the government security committee to present his ideas on how best to deal with it.
Adanga described Argentina’s hooligans as the worst he had ever encountered, but was surprised at the connections they had with club officials, police, judges and even government officials. He then left, saying that European policing methods against hooligans would be useless in Argentina unless these connections were severed.
During his brief stay, Adanga will have noted that 54 supporters of Boca Juniors were detained when they tried to enter the Bombonera stadium without tickets. Some had knives and some even attacked police, but they were all released the next day.
The following Sunday – after Adanga had left – a street battle involving gunfire erupted between Boca hooligans fighting for leadership. The fight ended up with 120 people being detained but, once again, they were all freed the following day.
One of those apprehended had a bundle of match tickets – selling match tickets is a regular income for the gangs – which, he said, he got from a club official. While Boca president Jorge Ameal said this was impossible, such things have been known to be going on for years.
In a bid to keep the hooligans out, the Argentinian FA wants clubs to give fans electronic membership cards, but interior minister Anibal Fernandez rightly says this system will be useless unless other measures are also taken.
Six coaching changes
Meanwhile, after just seven rounds of matches in the domestic closing championship, six coaches have either resigned or been sacked at Racing Club, Rosario, Estudiantes, Gimnasia Jujuy, Independiente and Banfield.
One coach asked the other day: “Only one team can win the championship. Does that mean the other 19 coaches have to go?”
League leaders Lanus and fifth-place Huracan are playing some of the best football in the league at moment, with the latter beating the early pace-setters 3-0 in their recent meeting.
Velez in fourth remain the only unbeaten side, while the goals of Colombia’s Radamel Falcao have helped River Plate into third place – and they might be higher still if it wasn’t for their defensive leaks.
San Lorenzo down in 10th have what looks to be the strongest squad in the league but they continue to suffer from poor discipline – three players were sent off in their last match, all within seven second-half minutes as they lost 3-0 to Colon.
As for Boca, coach Carlos Ischia admits that league considerations will have to take a back seat for now as he pursues his stated objective of trying help the club win the Libertadores Cup for a seventh time.