Fans turn 'barbaric' and violent at a football match in Mexico; at least 26 injured
Things turned ugly during a top-tier Liga MX football match in Mexico when fans got into a brawl that led to injuries and bloodshed. At least 26 people were hospitalised.
A Saturday-night Liga MX match between hosts Queretaro and Atlas from Guadalajara, the reigning champions, took a turn for the violent worse at the 62nd minute of the encounter as fans turned 'barbaric' and caused a huge brawl at the La Corregidora Stadium in central Mexico.
Seeing the multiple fights break out, the security personnel opened the gates to the field so that fans, including women and children, could escape the stands.
Meanwhile, one fan was seen pulling a knife to cut the nets of one goal. Others destroyed one side's bench and some fought in the tunnel to the field. Aside from a lot of punching and kicking, some people were armed with chairs and metal bars.
Graphic videos of the shocking brawl were soon to circulate that showed apparent fans motionless on the ground, in some cases naked and covered with blood. This incident has been heavily condemned by FIFA, as well.
"Fifa joins the Mexican Football Association and Concacaf in condemning this barbaric incident and encouraging the local authorities to bring swift justice to those responsible," said football's governing body in a statement. "Our thoughts are with all those who suffered its consequences."
Additionally, Liga MX also condemned the violence in a message on its official Twitter account. League president Mikel Arriola said those responsible for the lack of security in the stadium would be punished. He added that the rest of the league's games this weekend had been suspended.
The Queretaro Governor, Mauricio Kuri gave a press conference on Sunday in which he said that 26 people required hospitalization after the violence, 24 of which were men. Three people have been discharged so far, and the governor has repeated that there are no deaths. Earlier, there were unverified reports that 17 people had died in the brawl, however, those reports have been dismissed officially.
Of the remaining hospitalized, 10 are in fragile condition while three are in critical condition with severe injuries.
"They were savagely injured, which is a shame and a blot on soccer, for these type of things to happen, in a place that should be for families to go and have fun. This is totally unacceptable," Kuri said.
However, this isn't the first instance of violence during a football match here. Atlas has also had issues recently with violence among its fans. Last year, the "classic" with crosstown rival Chivas saw a brawl in the stands.
Atlas, the reigning Liga MX champions, led 1-0 before the match was suspended in the 62nd minute. To ensure proper justice is meted out, Liga MX's disciplinary committee announced that they have begun an investigation into the situation.
(With inputs from AP)