Twenty-six people were injured during a massive brawl at a professional soccer match in Querétaro city on Saturday.
Fighting between spectators broke out at the La Corregidora stadium during a Liga MX match between Querétaro and Atlas, a Guadalajara-based club that is the league’s defending champion.
The brawl – during which spectators were brutally kicked, punched and attacked with chairs and other objects – began in the stands before spilling onto the playing surface.
State and municipal police did nothing to stop the violence, which forced the abandonment of the match that Atlas was leading 1-0.
Querétaro Governor Mauricio Kuri acknowledged at a press conference that the security response was too little, too late.
“It’s evident that the public security force was insufficient and did not act as quickly as the situation merited. We are investigating accordingly,” he said.
The governor also said in a video message Sunday that three people were in serious condition in hospital. There has been speculation that people were killed during the melee, but Kuri asserted that wasn’t the case.
“My greatest commitment is to the truth. Official data indicates that up to this time we don’t have deaths due to the deplorable events yesterday,” he said.
“The images from yesterday are disturbing. Irrational violence saddens us and angers us. Unfortunately, names and images of people have been disseminated on social media, asserting that they died. Today we confirm that they are fortunately alive and receiving medical care,” the governor said. “… I have no motive to lie or hide anything.”
The Querétaro Attorney General’s Office (FGQ) said in a statement Sunday that an investigation had been opened into a range of crimes committed at the stadium, including attempted murder. It said it would initially focus on taking statements from those injured, provided they are in a condition to speak.
The FGQ also affirmed that no one had died in the brawl, and said that the prognosis for those injured was favorable.
“The Attorney General’s Office is gathering the videos circulating on social networks, in the media and those provided by citizens in order to identify criminal conduct,” it said.
No arrests have been made in connection with the violence, the newspaper Reforma reported Monday.
Oscar Balmen, a crime reporter, said on Twitter Sunday that he had received information suggesting that the brawl between Querétaro and Atlas fans was related to organized crime.
“My sources confirm a line of investigation related to organized crime in #Querétaro,” he tweeted, adding that a Querétaro supporter known as “El Beto” may have taken a group of huachicoleros, or fuel thieves, to the stadium to “ambush and attack” Jalisco New Generation Cartel rivals who are “active members” of an organized group of Atlas supporters.
“It’s only a line of investigation that would explain the attack, … the institutional collaboration they received from Corregidora stadium personnel and the cruelty” with which they attacked their victims, Balmen said.
One video posted to social media showed stadium staff opening a gate that allowed Querétaro supporters to reach Atlas fans.
Liga MX said Sunday that upcoming matches scheduled to be played at La Corregidora stadium would be suspended.
“We are not going to have any soccer activity here until the case is resolved,” said Mikel Arriola, the league’s president.
Mexico News Daily