Mexico City (AFP) – At least 26 people have been injured after violence erupted between opposing fans at a Mexican soccer match, authorities said on Sunday.
Fights broke out just after the hour mark on Saturday between Querétaro and Atlas at La Corregidora stadium in the city of Querétaro.
As some fans, including families with children, tried to escape, clashes spilled over onto the playing field, sending players to safety.
Of the 26 people taken to hospital, three have been discharged but “three are in serious condition, 10 are in delicate condition and the other 10 are not serious,” the governor of the state of Queretaro said on Sunday. Mauricio Kuri.
“Even if there are no fatalities, we cannot say that it is not a tragedy,” Kuri added.
World football’s governing body FIFA has denounced the violence as “unacceptable and intolerable”.
“FIFA joins the Mexican Football Federation and Concacaf in condemning this barbaric incident and encouraging local authorities to bring swift justice to those responsible,” FIFA said.
Unable to control the situation inside the pitch, security guards opened the stadium gates to allow fans to get to safety.
But some instead continued to exchange blows, forcing a stoppage of play and sending the players into the locker room.
Chaotic scenes unfolded, with fans falling on top of each other and others cowering in a hail of furious kicks and punches.
A VAR monitor was destroyed during the clash, with footage posted to social media showing injured fans lying prostrate.
The executive president of Mexico’s Liga-MX criticized the events on Twitter, writing: “Those responsible for the lack of security in the stadium will be punished in an exemplary manner. The safety of our players and supporters is a priority!
Kuri criticized the security planning for the game and said there weren’t enough police on the pitch who “didn’t act fast enough”.
Atlas demanded in a statement that the authorities and the league open an investigation into the violence to determine “accountability to those involved” and to ensure that “the full force of the law will be applied”.
Kuri pledged to ensure that “the law (will) be applied with all its consequences”.