Security Minister Patricia Bullrich, revealed her extensive plan to stamp out football-related criminal activity, before the Senate last week. The proposed legislation is intended to mitigate the deep-seated problems of football hooliganism in Argentina, through more rigorous classification of crimes committed before, during and after football matches and an average increase of sentences by about a third for these offenses.
“Our goal,” Bullrich declared, “is to cut off the revenue of the barra bravas and to dismantle the illicit networks through which this sport is run.”
It is no easy feat. The scope of the barra bravas illegal activities extends well beyond violence in the stands. These bands of violent supporters often control, or at least have a hand in, ticket sales and stadium admissions. The new legislation covers a wide variety of points in order to suffocate the extensive involvement of barra bravas at every level of live football.
Sound a little vague so far? Here are the five key areas of the government’s proposal:
Barra Bravas — Squeezing out the barra bravas is the most important aspect of the legislation. It makes sense, then, that the sentences related to them are, let’s say, not very forgiving. Up to eight years will be handed for crimes committed by barra bravas and two for facilitating the entry of the hooligans.
Ticketing — The State won’t look too kindly upon those selling tickets to barra bravas either — three years for that. Additionally, two years will be handed to those found re-selling tickets, with the sentence increasing to eight years for fakes.
Admissions — Bullrich has not only proposed harsher convictions for illegal ticketing but to take away the club’s rights to manage admissions. The state will now assume control, in a bid to tackle the problem at its root and “put an end to the collusion that exists between clubs and the barras.” Just last month, a video was released showing Rafa Di Zeo strolling into the Bombonera with no problems. Things won’t be quite so easy now for the head of La Doce.
Violence — Violence or disturbances resulting in the interruption of match will see a two-to-six year sentence, depending on the severity. And that number will jump up to eight if the accused is found in possession of weapons and 10 if that weapon is a firearm.
Vehicle “care takers” — These unofficial figures associated with the barra bravas who lurk around football stadiums illegally charging football fans to park their cars will now be treated as criminals. Those demanding a fee will be convicted to three-to-four years and even the slightly less reproachable ones, who only go so far as to suggest a voluntary tip, will get six months.