Fan violence forces suspension of Liga MX match

Matchday 14 was devastating for Mexican soccer. On the back of the Veracruz soap opera, images of brutality were on display in San Luis.

The Gallos Blancos of Queretaro were comfortably winning their Week 14 Liga MX game at Atletico San Luis, taking an early 2-0 lead on first-half goals from Jair Pereira and captain Luis Romo.

The second half got under way without incident until minute 50, when fans of both teams began to interact in threatening ways.

At first, it appeared trouble would be avoided, perhaps nothing more than a small exchange between rival fans, but it turned out to be a serious problem as the game continued. Various images and live TV showed fans throwing metal objects, including coins and beer containers and scattered fighting began to increase.

Finally,  in minute 85 the game was abandoned as the chaos in the stands became extreme. The referee ordered both teams to the locker room and security starting moving people from the stands near the violence onto the playing field, to protect them from injury. Up where the real serious fighting was taking place, security was unable to contain or control the situation. Social media rapidly began distributing  images of the brutal beatings some fans received. It was reported that around 40 people were injured, several quite badly.

The visiting Queretaro team was kept in the locker room for two hours for their own protection before they were escorted to the team bus. Atletico de San Luis players were also guarded in their dressing room for a few hours due to the violence inside and outside the stadium.

Coaches Victor Manuel Vucetich of Queretaro and Gustavo Matosas of Atletico de San Luis expressed regrets about the violence, stating that it was a “tragic loss for the Liga MX and that leaves everyone sad and very worried.” Both men strongly implied that security should have been more prepared.

The Liga MX has had a sour week and the images are not flattering, including a photo of a crying child in its mother’s arms in the middle of the soccer field. It is a big black eye for the league.

Repercussions and fines surely will be handed down and San Luis might be forced to play its next home game elsewhere since a likely penalty is a stadium veto.