A low point for our football


acn_portuguesa_cdlara2Last Sunday was a dark day for Venezuelan football: there were violent clashes between the fans of Portuguesa F.C. and C.D. Lara inside and outside the José Antonio Páez Stadium in the city of Acarigua, leaving one person dead and fifty injured. The game was delayed for half an hour but was eventually completed.

Lara won 4-0.

Twenty-two year old fan Roberto Vidoza was shot and killed by a police officer, who has been arrested and charged. Both clubs have expressed regret for the tragic events but have also pointed fingers at each other. Both the Portuguesa State Police and the National Guard were ill prepared to handle the incidents, which were, surprisingly, shown live on regional TV.

Sadly, Venezuelan football is catching up with its South American counterparts regarding violence in stadiums. The promise of making our football violence-free is now way forgotten. And that’s just one of the many issues with our football league: low attendance, lousy infrastructure, clubs that come and go. Even the TV coverage is terrible.

With all these problems (including the economic crisis), all the progress we have made in recent years could go up in a puff of smoke.

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  1. I find the violence and the low attendance to be kind of contradictory aspects of our football. I mean, I may understand why in England there are hooligans. Millions of people go to the stadiums there every weekend, so a few of them are bound to be wackos. But in our case, almost nobody goes to watch the games, and the few who go have to be crazy? Come on!

  2. The first time I went to a match between in the Olimpico was decidedly a good and bad experience. The dancing, the chanting and cheering was great, but the use of makeshift flamethrowers, the over-the-top jeering and the amount of trash that was thrown towards the field by the end of the match didn’t let me enjoy the game as much.
    I was glad that at least fans in Venezuela don’t go full hooligan on each other, but alas, now we can add it to the list.

  3. I have been going to Valencia’s 8000 seater Misael Delgado stadium at least twice a month for more than a year now, even though the fact that the teams are mediocre at best more often than not, I can say that witnessing football in the stadium is often more entertaining than watching european matches in tv (classics aside of course), it might have something to do with the connection one feels in such place, the chanting and cheering etc.

    Attendances here hover around 6000 people per match, wich is probably good, the vast majority of spectators are going just to enjoy the show, but everyone ends up participating in massive denigration, like “aragueño hijo de puta”, or “you are from colombia” to the Tachira team, etc. This usually lead to visiting fans throwing everything they can grab to home fans, commonly rocks, flamethrowes and chairs, just business as usual, nothing to be alarmed I guess.

    I don’t get why would a person act violently in a place of entertaiment, why would you insult or assault someone from another mediocre team just because you like another mediocre team, I would like to put the blame on a few dozens of uneducated drunk or drugged people, but it often involves hundreds of person.

    Since decency and good education seem to be very far away in the future, I would say that the only easy solution to violence on stadiums would be the one that has been implemented here in Valencia in the last few months, denying entry to visiting fans.

    • But, that actually doesn’t solve the problem. Argentina implemented that policy over and over and over again and it’s soccer was still violent. The only way to effectively reduce violence in soccer is to target the hooligans that hide behind regular fans, like England did. Some cities in Argentina have started to do this by prohibiting them to enter the stadiums and they’ve been quite successful.

      What really baffles me from the Soccer violence in Venezuela is that in other countries the barras move a lot of money while in Venezuela they do not. Other bravas move money because teams are organized as clubs, not like our “pulperias-de-la-familia” model. The head of the barra has a certain amount of shares which allows him (or she) to have some control over the access to the stadiums. Therefore, they decide which drugdealer or cabeza caliente will access the venue. The amount of money they move allows them to buy the police which, btw, are in no shape to confront thousands of hooligans.

      Meanwhile, in Venezuela, barras bravas are, literally, penni-and-powerless. Their only source of power is the violence they can infringe in other fans. The police in Venezuela is in a position that they can control the few losers that act violently and to disperse the mob if it get’s out of control. Hence, the real source of violence in Venezuelan soccer is the reason why the rest of the country is submerge in blood, the decision (or legal inability) of the police to enforce the law.

      • I agree, as a fact, a lot of “barras” in europe work as a “face” for violente groups with violent idea, for example: Ultra-sur in Spain (Real Madrid) is formed by a lot of neonazis and skinheads who had a long history of violent behaviour. Also, there’s a problem with Police actions in the Stadiums related with the way they position in the stadium and the difficulty they face to tackle violent actions before they turn ugly


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