Mexico’s soccer federation has banned clubs of rowdy fans known as “Paras” from attending matches outside their home grounds after a massive brawl at the weekend between soccer fans left more than two dozen people injured, three of them in critical condition. The owners of the Federation and the First Division announced that the Queretaro team, which hosted Saturday’s match, will play matches at home without fans for one year. Even the Queretaro fan club will be banned from domestic matches for three years. Authorities in north-central Mexico have arrested 10 suspects in the brawl. Officials said raids and searches were continuing in several cities to find others.
Mexico’s soccer federation said on Tuesday it would ban feisty clubs known as “Paras” from attending matches away after a massive brawl at the weekend between soccer fans that left more than two dozen people injured, three of them in critical condition.
The owners of the Federation and the First Division announced that the host team in Saturday’s match, Queretaro, will have to play matches at home without fans for a year after the security of the stadium was proven to be inadequate.
The Queretaro fan club, or “barra”, will be banned from even attending domestic matches for three years. The team owner will be required to sell his stake in it and the current team management will be banned from the league for a period of five years.
The union also imposed a $70,000 fine, ruling Saturday’s game – which was 1-1 when the fight broke out – to be a 3-0 win for opponents Atlas of Guadalajara.
The club’s owners said they would implement measures to identify fans entering stadiums.
Authorities in the north-central state of Queretaro said earlier on Tuesday that they had arrested 10 suspects in the brawl. Officials said that raids and searches are continuing in several cities to find other cities.
Guadalupe Morgoya, the interior minister of Queretaro state, said 26 people had been identified as having participated in the brawl.
The arrests were based on a review of videos and other evidence from Saturday’s confrontation.
The state suspended five officials after security forces in the stadium were unable to control the violence. They include members of the police and civil defense, and three people responsible for planning and preparedness.
The contracts of the private company, which is partly responsible for security at the football stadium, have also been cancelled.
Police were also on the scene when the altercation occurred on Saturday in a match between Queretaro and Atlas, the league champions.
All first division matches in Mexico have been canceled on Sunday.
Saturday’s match was suspended in the 62nd minute after multiple fights broke out in the stands. Security personnel opened the gates to the square so that fans, including women and children, could escape the clashes.
Only three or four wounded were left in the hospital. They may have been the three who were seen unconscious or badly hit on the ground, repeatedly kicked and beaten in videos posted on social media.
After several minutes, some of the battles moved to the field, where some people were armed with chairs and metal bars.
A fan was seen pulling a knife to cut nets from a single target. Others destroyed the seat of one side and some fought in the tunnel to the square.
Enrique Alfaro, the governor of Jalisco, of which Guadalajara is the capital, was asked on Monday about local newspaper reports that the brawl may have involved local criminal gangs battling visitors allegedly belonging to the Jalisco drug cartel.
“It seems to me that what we saw was not an ordinary quarrel between fans,” Alvaro said. “What happened there was something that seemed different.”
But Alvaro declined to comment on whether drug cartels were involved.
Mikel Areola, the head of Liga MX, said it will likely adopt facial recognition or biometric systems in stadiums to identify troublemakers.
“We have to implement digital security measures to determine who will be attending, starting with Barça,” Areola said, adding that he would propose at a club owners meeting on Tuesday that these clubs be banned from taking part in away matches.