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Stadium Issues in Chile

Wednesday, 15 February 2012 17:58

Written by Nick Lavars

Suspension of a Primera Division match brings to light issue of crowd security.

After crazed spectators threw fireworks onto the field during the Universidad de Chile-Iquique match last Friday, forcing the match’s suspension, officials are now calling for tighter stadium regulations.

violence football stadiumPhoto by benjaminm31/Flickr

The Stadium Security Project has filed 50 complaints for instances of crowd misbehavior since its inception in April 2011. Not one of these complaints has seen assistance from the clubs of fans in question, rendering the process somewhat futile.

With the chances of finding those responsible for the isolated incidents almost impossible, authorities will turn their attention to the prevention of such circumstances.

“It is necessary to work toward a standard of stadium security which exists in Europe, where a team cannot play professionally unless their stadium meets a certain level of conditions,” Chief of the Stadium Security Project and Ministry of Interior adviser Cristián Barra told La Tercera.

In a competition where the separation of home and away fans isn’t only preferable but a necessity, matches between certain clubs bring more chaos than others as bitter rivalries often boil over into uncontrollable crowd behavior.

“The supporter group of Universidad de Chile must be kept separate from opposing fans, as is the case with Universidad Católica fans,” said Barra.

Currently, the larger clubs such as these provide economic assistance to their “barras,” which are groups of die-hard fans. Barra says this sponsorship contributes largely to the organized chaos.

“We do not see the need to fund buses to carry the fans to the stadiums. This encourages the problem to grow and requires further police reinforcements,” he said.

After last Friday’s match, the clubs blamed the government and police while Barra and the security project blamed the leaders of the barras who allow spectators to enter the stadiums with fireworks.

“What we need to understand is that to change this we must use the tools at our disposal to face this problem together,” said Barra.

By Nick Lavars (
Copyright 2011 – The Santiago Times

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