Fans battle it out during a Mexican soccer league match between host Queretaro and Atlas de Guadalajara at Corregidora Stadium in Queretaro, Mexico.
Mexico’s top division soccer league has suspended all games scheduled for Sunday (Monday NZT) after a massive fan fight during Saturday’s game between hosts Queretaro and reigning league champions Atlas de Guadalajara.
“We regret and condemn these events, which go against the spirit of our football,” the Mexican Football Federation said in a statement.
Saturday’s game was suspended in the 62nd minute when several fights broke out in the stands. Security personnel opened the gates to the pitch so that supporters, including women and children, could escape from the stands.
Queretaro Governor Mauricio Kuri said in videos released early Sunday that 14 men had been hospitalized. Four of them had minor injuries and eight were in stable condition, but two of the injured were in critical condition with serious injuries.
They may have been two men who were seen unconscious on the ground, repeatedly kicked and kicked in videos posted on social media.
“They were savagely injured, which is a disgrace and a stain on football, for this sort of thing to happen, in a place that should be for families to go and have fun. This is totally unacceptable,” Kuri said.
After the scrum broke out, players from the visiting Atlas quickly fled to the locker room, as did some from the Querétaro side. Other Querétaro players, including Uruguayan goalkeeper Washington Aguerre, remained close to the bench in an attempt to calm the fans down.
After several minutes, some of the fights moved to the field where they continued to punch and kick. Some people were armed with chairs and metal bars.
A fan could be seen pulling a knife to cut the nets off a goal. Others destroyed the bench on one side and some fought through the tunnel to the field.
“The darkest day for Mexican football,” headlined the Mexican newspaper El Universal on Sunday.
Guadalajara is the capital of the state of Jalisco, and Atlas has also had issues with fan violence recently. Last year, the ‘classic’ with crosstown rival Chivas saw a fight in the stands.
“Unfortunately what is happening in Querétaro… is happening in my country,” said Rafael Márquez, a former captain of the Mexican national team who started his career with Atlas and later became their coach.
Kuri condemned the violence and said the owners of the Querétaro club should answer for what happened.
“I gave instructions for the law to be applied with all its consequences,” he said.
Both teams issued statements condemning the violence.