Why was Gimnasia vs Boca Juniors suspended in Argentina?
Both teams were sent to their respective dressing rooms as sections of the crowd looked for ways to avoid the tear gas.
The Juan Carmelo Zerillo Stadium in La Plata turned into a nightmare for all involved on Thursday when Gimnasia La Plata hosted Boca Juniors in the Argentinian top flight.
In the ninth minute of the league match between the sides, the stadium was covered in gas which caused the match to be suspended due to breathing and sight difficulties.
Both players and fans were affected by tear gas coming from outside the stadium, due to incidents that were beginning to escalate between police and supporters. Players covered themselves with their shirts before referee Hernán Mastrángelo stopped the game.
The two teams were subsequently sent to their respective dressing rooms, as sections of the crowd looked for ways to avoid the gas. After several minutes of uncertainty, the Argentinian FA confirmed the suspension of the match.
Supporters were trapped inside in stadium, choking on tear gas, as police fired rubber bullets outside the ground and eventually the public flooded the pitch.
TNT broadcaster Juan Pablo Varsky said that the whole incident outside the stadium in La Plata was triggered by a police officer hitting a girl in a scuffle with fans. The incident was caused by the massive sale of general admission tickets. Some supporters with tickets were then not allowed to enter the stadium as the capacity had been exceeded.
In a statement on Twitter, the Argentine FA said: “The AFA strongly repudiates the events that took place today in the vicinity of Gimnasia stadium and expresses its commitment to continue working to eradicate this kind of incidents that tarnishes the spirit of football.”
ESPN quoted Gimnasia player Leonardo Morales as saying: “My two-year-old son couldn’t breathe. We feel desperate and worried about all the people in the stands.
“We were playing a normal football game and it turned it into this and the feeling that our relatives almost died.”
One person killed
The Buenos Aires Security Minister, Sergio Berni, confirmed that one person had died following the incidents. “We will carry out an investigation to find out what happened. At first glance, the first problem was the sale of extra tickets. The clubs have to take responsibility for that. The responsibility lies with the organiser of the event. I confirm that one person has died of a heart problem”.
Reports have since confirmed that 57-year-old Gimnasia supporter César Regueiro has died. A statement from Gimnasia read: “The board of directors of the La Plata club deeply regrets the death of César Regueiro and thoughts accompany his family and friends at this difficult time.
“We will demand that what happened be investigated until those responsible for this tragic day are known. Our institution is available to present the necessary material and documentation.
“Our club complied with the protocols established by security agencies. There was no overselling of tickets and the behaviour of our members and fans was correct.”