How many Liga MX matches have been postponed due to violence?
The Liga MX confirmed on Thursday that the Clausura 2023 game between Mazatlán and León, scheduled for Friday night, has been postponed due to rioting in Culiacán.
Friday’s game between Mazatlán and León, one of the two opening fixtures of the Liga MX Clausura 2023 has been called off due to the wave of violence which errupted following the capture of Ovidio Guzmán, the son of Mexican drug lord El Chapo. Other games in the Expansion League are also at risk of being postponed due to the tense situation in Sinaloa. Guzmán, one of the leaders of the Sinaloa cartel, was reported to have been detained after a shoot-out in the early hours of Thursday morning - gunfire from military helicopters was seen raining down on an apartment block shortly before 4 a.m. local time.
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The operation, conducted by Mexico’s National Defense (SEDENA), provoked a wave of violence, armed clashes as a well as blockades with vehicles set ablaze in response to Guzmán’s arrest.
The Liga MX confirmed that the Mazatlán and León, which was due to be played tomorrow night at Estadio de Fútbol El Kraken in Mazatlán, Sinoloa district, approximately 200 kilometres from Culiacán, will not take place. At the moment, no date has been set for the rescheduled match. Other games could also be affected, including tonight’s meeting between Dorados Sinaloa and Correcaminos. In the next few hours, the Expansion League is expected to make an announcement about the cancellation of the match between Dorados and Correcaminos, scheduled to be played tonight, at 9:05 p.m. at Estadio Banorte.
As clashes continue, schools have been closed while government employees and the general population have been advised not to leave their homes due to the ongoing dangers on the streets of Culiacán.
Sadly, it is not be the first time that a soccer match in Mexico has been postponed as a result of violence. We take a look at other games that were rescheduled for similar reasons:
In August 2022, the Liga MX decided to postpone the game between FC Juárez and Pachuca, corresponding to Week 8 of the Apertura 2022, because of the climate of violence that was plaguing Ciudad Juárez in the days leading up to the match.
The violent events in the border city left 11 dead after two days of clashes, looting and burning cars at different locations.
Also during the Apertura 2022, but in the Expansion League, the match between Correcaminos and Atlante had to be postponed due to the violent incidents that took place in Ciudad Victoria and the surrounding areas.
The Expansion League reported that “due to the roadblocks in the state of Tamaulipas” the duel between the UAT team and the Iron Colts had to be rescheduled for Thursday, July 7, at 7:00 p.m. only in case of “having favorable conditions” to be able to carry it out. The meeting was eventually held behind closed doors as the fans’ safety could not be guaranteed.
It isn’t the first time that a match in Culiacán would have to be rescheduled due to violence. In October 2019, the Dorados-Atlante match was postponed due to outbursts of violence in the city when Ovidio Guzmán was briefly detained only to be released a few hours hours in an attempt to curb violent retribution from his drug gang with nine people injured in crossfire.
On that occasion, both teams and the match officials remained sheltered in their respective hotels.
That didn’t stop Dorados goalkeeper Gaspar Servio from mocking the situation and the city by posting four videos on Instagram. It caused outrage among the local population and the club terminated his contract three days later.
On August 20, 2011, a shooting outside TSM stadium in Torreón caused the match between Santos Laguna and Morelia to be called off and rescheduled.
Gunshots were heard in minute 40 of the game, causing panic among fans and the players, who ran to the dressing room for cover.
Prosecutor Jesús Torres reported that the shooting originated when a patrol stopped a truck carrying members of an armed group that opened fire on the police close to the stadium.
On 1 November, the remaining minutes of the match were played, with Morelia running out 2-0 winners.
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