A 43-year-old Deportivo La Coruna supporter has died after being injured during violence between rival fans outside of Vicente Calderon stadium in Madrid. The Spanish Professional Football League (LFP) had attempted to suspend Sunday’s match between Atletico Madrid and Deportivo following news of the violent incidents outside of the stadium, but according to the Spanish publication AS, LFP officials were unable to locate any representatives of the Spanish Football Federation (FEF) – who have the authority to issue the order to the match referee to stop the contest.
LFP president Javier Tebas had been concerned about the potential problems between rival supporters. Shortly after being informed that fans were fighting in the streets outside of the Vicente Calderon, Tebas attempted to have the fixture called off. It is understood that both clubs agreed to have the match suspended, but FEF officials were unable to be located in order to issue the order.
The violence reportedly began at 9am local time and LFP officials became aware of the incidents a half an hour later. The match between Atletico Madrid and Deportivo kicked off at noon. According to various reports in Spain, the fighting between the rival ultra factions continued for an hour.
The British newspaper The Guardian states that the unnamed 43-year-old Deportivo supporter had to be fished out of the freezing Manzanares river near the stadium and suffered cardiac arrest, hypothermia and head injuries.
The publication went on to report that hospital sources later said the individual died shortly after 2pm local time after failing to respond to efforts to revive him. Eleven other people were treated for mostly minor injuries, including a female police officer who suffered a fractured hand.
The LFP issued a statement at 1pm expressing its rejection of the violence and confirmed that it had been “firm” in its intention to have the match suspended. “From within the LFP we are working together with supporters’ associations, the national police and Liga clubs to eradicate violence, racism, xenophobia and intolerance in professional football,” the statements reads.
Atletico Madrid have also released a statement on its official website condemning the violence: “Club Atletico de Madrid strongly condemns the incidents that occurred in the area of Madrid Rio in the early hours prior to the match that our team will play against Deportivo de La Coruna.”
“The values promoted by sport must prevail over any rivalry and we must fight together against the scourge of violence.”
Atletico Madrid president Enrique Cerezo spoke to Spanish television following the incidents and said: “I want to say that this has nothing to do with football. These are radical groups who meet up and these are the consequences.”
“I repeat that neither Atletico nor Deportivo have anything to do with these incidents.”
Deportivo president Tino Fernandez echoed Cerezo’s sentiments: “It’s tragic news. I want to express our vehement opposition to violence.”
Twenty people were taken into custody and a total of 100 troublemakers have been identified, police said via their Twitter feed.
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