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ARGENTINA | 26-11-2018 12:26

Scandalous hooligan violence sends shockwaves through sports, politics

The violent incidents involving football hooligans have raised concerns about security ahead of the G20 leaders summit, which begins Friday in the capital.

Shocking hooligan violence during Argentina's finals season is sending shockwaves through the country's sports and political worlds, just days before the G20 leaders summit in Buenos Aires.

Rock-wielding hooligans from the River squad were released from preventative arrest on Sunday, as the CONMEBOL regional governing body suspended the Superclásico final against Boca.

"If the match is handed to Boca, it would be an absolute embarrassment and one of the biggest acts of treachery you could imagine", River Plate club president Rodolfo D'Onofrio told the Debo Decir television programme on Sunday.

His comments come after Boca president Daniel Angelici called for his club to take the cup by default.

"I want Angelici to personally defend his arguments... How could it be that yesterday at 7pm we agreed to something and now he's done a back flip?", D'Onofrio pondered.

In the political sphere, some Buenos Aires City officials were running for cover as outrage over the lack of police intervention erupted.

City Security Minister Martín Ocampo "remained in his position" while the incident involving River and Boca was "investigated", vice-mayor Diego Santilli told reporters.

He denied the area around River's Monumental stadium had been purposefully abandoned by police.

"We have initiated an internal investigation of the entire operation to see where there were problems and failures, which are very clear (and to analyse) where there were mistakes and to identify those responsible for what happened", he added.

"In the City, the responsibility for security is on our government with our security forces, with the support of federal forces", he clarified.

Santilli also insisted the City was in conditions to host the Liberadores final. "Of course we are, we're going to do it", he said.

G20 CONCERNS

Security attachés and delegations from the G20 member states will begin descending on Buenos Aires this week, amid concerns about security.

Cabinet Chief Marcos Peña recognised Sunday that the G20 "is an enormous challenge" for Argentina.

"We're working on ensuring protests are carried out peacefully", Peña told the LN+ news channel. "We hope that all sectors of politics support this idea of peace and can protest in peace", he urged.

Peña also described recent outbursts of hooligan violence as part of a "structural problem".

"When you combat these mafias, these mafias defend themselves", he explained. "There is no doubt that we are on track to eradicate these mafias".

-TIMES

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