Football and violence are never too far away from eachother in Argentina, but members of third division side Atlanta`s barra brava (the club`s ultras) have set a new precedent, as they gatecrashed the team`s training session at their Villa Celina complex on Monday morning.
A group of seven`fans`arrived demanding money from the players, before proceeding to attack several, leaving midfielder Ezequiel Rodriguez with a broken nose.
The incident came after the firm asked to be paid AR $100.000 on Saturday, following the Villa Crespo side`s 3-1 defeat at Barracas Central. That defeat put an end to coach Fernando Ruiz`s time in charge of the team, with Atlanta having taken just one point from a potential twelve over four games.
“At Atlanta, everything became too political”, said Ruiz before his exit at the weekend. “We entered a bit of a bad patch, but beyond that we were still on (for promotion).”
The barra have been left particularly unhappy with the team`s dip in form, which has seen them lose sight of the Primera B promotion places in recent weeks. On top of that, it`s thought that tensions in the run up to club elections on August 20th may have been a factor.
It remains unclear for exactly what reason the money was being demanded, however the group warned they would “return with guns” should it not be delivered.
“Tomorrow there will be no training”, said club vice-president Alejandro Korz, before assuring that “a safe place will be agreed” for future sessions.
The club also released a statement, saying it “condemned” the act of violence and that security measures will be increased.
Just last week, Belgrano fan Emanuel Balbo was killed by his fellow supporters, while 81 Boca fans were arrested this weekend on the way to their match with Atletico Rafaela. Unless AFA act soon to impose new measures, it seems that football violence, of all kinds, is here to stay.