Black Saturday

Two matches have been postponed on Saturday in the Primera A, after a Vélez Sársfield fan was killed whilst walking to San Lorenzo’s stadium to watch his team – the league leaders – take on Ramón Díaz’s side. Emanuel Alvarez, 21 years old, was taken to hospital but declared dead on arrival.

Alvarez was killed by a bullet whilst walking to the Nuevo Gasometro for the match, after a group of Vélez fans had come into contact with a gang with links to Huracán, whose social facilities aren’t far from where the coaches carrying Vélez fans to the match had parked.

The match between Gimnasia de Jujuy and Lanús had already been put back, due to ‘lack of guarantees’ of safety in the stadium, when the players took to the pitch in San Lorenzo’s stadium, only for referee Héctor Baldassi to refuse to get things going, with the away fans arriving with the news that one of their number had been shot, and threatening to invade the pitch if the match went ahead. Vélez’s players gathered to calm their fans, but Hernán Pellerano, one of their number, told the press afterwards, ‘If we play it’s going to make a mess of everything. If we play it’ll be for the worst. It’s better not to play because everything’s going to end up worse [if we do].’

It’s been rumoured – but as yet unconfirmed – that the dead fan is related to some members of the Vélez squad. Whether that’s the case or not is, for now, irrelevant. Another death – the 224th – has resulted from the problems which continue to pollute Argentine football, and regardless of what else happens, the sixth round of matches in the Clausura has been overshadowed.

Postscript: Additional to this, reports are just coming in after this story in the Buenos Aires-based press that on Friday night, in the lower division clásico in Salta between Gimnasia y Tiro de Salta and Central Norte, a 17-year-old girl was shot dead on her way to the stadium. The girl, whose name has been released by the press as Sabrina, fell outside a health clinic, whose staff attempted to help her, but was pronounced dead 40 minutes later.

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