Mendoza turned into the wild west on Thursday evening as the game between Godoy Cruz and San Martin, de Tucumán was abandoned in the 63rd minute due to crowd trouble. It seems that the authorities were aware of the potential for problems in this fixture after Godoy Cruz fans were attacked in 2008. Internet chatter in various forums also anticipated a 'ruck' which is why there were 870 police on duty. Even so order was unable to be retained after the home fans tried to attack the visitors and the police stepped in using rubber bullets and tear gas whilst being showered with stones. The riot resulted in 10 injured police, one stabbed supporter, 30 arrests and more negative publicity for the game. For the record the score when abandoned was 1-1. View a news reprt here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=u22Cj3sX5w4.
In view of the continued problems any opposition to the AFA's hi-tech identity card scheme could be diminishing fast. The proposal was approved by the Executive Commitee a few weeks ago and will be administered by the National Technology University (UTN). In practical terms each fan who wishes to attend a game will have to register and will then receive an identity card. These cards will include a photo and fingerprint details. In a radical departure tickets will no longer be sold at stadiums and fans will have to purchase them from ATM's or by telephone. The cards will then be scanned and checked at the stadium to ensure the owner of the card is the owner of the ticket. The scheme will be trialed at Lanús in May. AFA President Julio Grondona hopes the scheme will encourage families to return to stadiums.
It seems to be a step in the right direction however it must be remembered that many of the barras are in cahoots with some administrations and the clubs will need to weed out these elements too. Behavioural Scientist Otto Adang has advised many European countries on combating football violence including at the last 3 European Championships. He has recently been in Argentina and highlighted the different nature of the problem here. 'In Argentina the European solution is impractical. In Europe the hooligans were on the fringes of the system. Here (Argentina) they have surprising links to the business of football'. The business he refers to is on occasion holding players contracts/registrations, controlling merchandise sales, travel and selling drugs.