Buenos Aires Times

sports ARGENTINE FOOTBALL

Away fans will be able to attend Superliga matches this season, confirms official

Trial scheme will allow entry of rival fans for matches after five-year ban. But none of the 'Big Five' - Boca, Independiente, Racing, River and San Lorenzo - will take part.

Tuesday 17 July, 2018
After a five year ban, away fans will be allowed into stadiums when the Superliga returns in August, the official in charge of safety at football matches in Argentina has confirmed.
After a five year ban, away fans will be allowed into stadiums when the Superliga returns in August, the official in charge of safety at football matches in Argentina has confirmed. Foto:TWITTER.COM/guillermomadero

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After a five year ban, away fans will be allowed into stadiums when the Superliga returns in August, the official in charge of safety at football matches in Argentina has confirmed.

In an interview with the AFP news agency, National Director of Sports Safety Guillermo Madero said only half of the league's clubs had agreed to accept visiting fans and that fans would have to have a 'Fan ID' in order to enter stadiums. 

Madero said the move had been agreed by the State, the authorities in charge of the Superliga and 26 clubs in Argentina's top tier of professional football.

The measure will be piloted through a series of test events and will be introduced gradually, with clubs that show "good behaviour" allowed to increase the number of away fans allowed in on a game-by-game basis. 

The five most popular teams in the country – Boca Juniors, Independiente, Racing Club, River Plate and San Lorenzo – will not take part initially. All five are believed to have voted against the scheme, although these clubs often sell-out games with just home fans.

Five years ago, a ban was slapped on away fans after a series of violent incidents. Over the past decade, approximately 90 deaths have been attributed to hooliganism and football-related violence in Argentina. Those numbers have fallen since the ban's introduction: in 2014, 18 deaths were recorded, with six in 2017 and a single victim registered so far in 2018 to date.

However, not all away fans have been missing from games. In recent years, smaller teams or those based in cities far from the capital have covertly sold  tickets to rival fans, categorising them as "neutral" and open to the public for purchase. Only summer friendlies, matches in the Copa Argentina and international matches have seen fans from both sides allowed into games.

Tickets will be sold by the Superliga itself and not by clubs, Madero confirmed. Only those who request a Security Ministry-approved 'Fan ID' – a free-of-charge ID card that registers fans as affiliated with a club – will be allowed to purchase tickets. 

"A Fan ID is the tool to end the insecurity in football," Madero told AFP in an interview. "In Russia [at the World Cup] it was used for the first time, and it worked excellently."

- AFP

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