So-called fans of Argentine club River Plate fought in the clubs social area last week, hours before the start of the opening game versus Lanus. Four people were injured as River fans fought amongst themselves, terrorising families who had come to the club to use its swimming pool and barbecue area situated next to the clubs 1978 World Cup stadium the Monumental.
The ugly scenes resulted in Interior Minister Aníbal Fernández handing out a five match ban to the club...Rivers next five games will be played behind closed doors.
I was watching the news on TV a couple of days ago and to my amazement the BBC reported that the violence stemmed from River Plate's failure to pay the $20,000USD per month that the clubs 'barra bravas' (hardcore 'fans') alledgedly extort to keep the peace (grrr, can't find link).
Further incidents at other clubs across Argentina suggest that extortion is rife:
On Monday, supporters of first division Quilmes painted the club headquarters with slogans threatening directors after they were refused money and free tickets for the game at Estudiantes.
On Thursday, Banfield president Carlos Portell said he had been threatened by the club's fans after also refusing free tickets and money for away games.
To add to the madness there are now reports that La Boca's notorious hooligans 'La Doce' (the 12th man) are exporting their brand of hooliganism to clubs in Mexico.
The newspaper, Ole, quoted a government source as saying members of Argentina's barras bravas - a hardcore groups of fans - had travelled to the two countries to meet supporters and organise conferences, charging for their advice in US dollars.
The subject matter included terrace chants; the use of weapons and methods for extorting money from club directors and players.
In the words of the head of La Doce, Rafa de Zeo, "As far as the world's hooligans are concerned, La Doce is Harvard. They come here to learn.
If you have 10mins to spare here's a youtube video that give's a little insight into just what a lovely bloke Rafa de Zeo is.