BUENOS AIRES, July 22 (Reuters) – Boca Juniors president Daniel Angelici accused the Argentine government of turning a blind eye to the growing problem of soccer hooligans after two were killed in a Wild West style shootout.
Two men died from bullet wounds during the shootout between rivals factions of gun-toting Boca barra bravas who clashed ahead of a friendly game against first division rivals San Lorenzo on Sunday.
“The state knows each one of them. They have their names, surnames and know where they live,” Angelici told TN television station on Sunday night.
“The state has the biggest responsibility… These are delinquents who must be eradicated. If (the government) is going to ask football directors to deal with them it’s because no-one wants to do anything about it.
“Whenever there are (national) elections, I see (the hooligans) working in the political parties, they don’t work at Boca Juniors,” he added in quotes picked up by the Sports daily Ole (www.ole.com.ar).
“Until there is a strongly political decision (to deal with the issue) we’re going to keep suffering unnecessary deaths.”
The deaths took to four the number killed in football-related violence this year.
Local media said there was only one arrest of a man with a gun.
The apparent impunity of soccer hooligans has become as big a topic of discussions among regular fans and the general public as the game itself in Argentina.
Incidents tend to be about power struggles within the barras bravas of the clubs rather than fighting between hooligan fans of rival teams.
The government’s secretary for national security, Sergio Berni, said a ban on visiting fans implemented near the end of last season after a fan was killed in a clash with police should remain in place for the new season kicking off on Aug. 2.
The game at San Lorenzo’s Nuevo Gasometro ground on the outskirts of Buenos Aires, the final of a friendly off-season tournament, was postponed until Wednesday. (Additional reporting by Luis Ampuero; Writing by Rex Gowar in London; editing by Justin Palmer)