Mexico City (AFP) – Ten men have been arrested and a Mexican football team ordered to play home matches behind closed doors for a year after a mass brawl between rival fans, officials said Tuesday.
The 10 are suspected of attempted manslaughter, violence at a sports event and defending criminal activity, said a statement from the prosecutor’s office in the city of Queretaro.
The fight broke out just after the hour mark of Saturday’s game between the home team Queretaro and Atlas in the top division of Mexican football, leaving 26 people injured.
The game was called off and the football league suspended Sunday’s remaining matches.
The Mexican Football Federation announced Tuesday that Queretaro would have to play all home games behind closed doors for a year as a punishment.
The club will also be fined 1.5 million pesos (about $70,000) and lose Saturday’s match 3-0, it said.
A judge issued arrests warrants Monday night for several dozen people who were suspected of taking part in the melee and identified through news footage and social media images.
The judge also authorized searches of the suspects’ homes, and investigators found 82 jerseys with the Queretaro insignia, four pairs of athletic shoes — some stained with blood — and 22 cell phones among other items.
The match quickly descended into chaos after fighting broke out in the stands with families and children running for cover as the violence spilled onto the pitch.
Stewards and security guards were overwhelmed and unable to control rampaging fans.
World football’s governing body FIFA hit out at the “unacceptable and intolerable” violence in a country that is already grappling with the problem of homophobic chanting in its stadiums, four years before jointly hosting the 2026 World Cup.
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