A high-risk match between rivals Querétaro and Atlas leaves a still unknown number of injured as the Mexican League stops and the public demands answers.

mexico football violence
Photo: Imago7

Family members are currently searching for their loved ones through social media.

The two teams are known to have a violent rivalry through their local Barras bravas. These ultra groups have been creating conflicts in the past decade. None nearing the magnitude of tonight’s violence. This is the first time Mexico is seeing this level of football-related brutality.

Querétaro supporters invaded the pitch and hell broke loose. Some say they were provoked

This culmination of day-long conflicts between the two barras had people fleeing the pitch, as well as through the rest of the La Corregidora Stadium: “You could get killed over a jersey”, said one of the commentators on Twitter who made it out safely.

This is why many were giving their own jerseys away: “Thank you to the boy from Querétaro who gave me his shirt so that I could get out of the stadium safely. I hope with all my heart God blesses you. The shirt is signed, so if this tweet reaches him, I will return it with pleasure”, a girl supporting Atlas wrote on her Twitter page.

The League has been suspended immediately. Both teams are expected to be fined and sanctioned through their league standings. Politicians, local governors and public figures have spoken out against football violence. All of the clubs have issued statements vehemently condemning tonight’s events, including Atlas.

Questions, versions and saving the People’s game

Local sports fans are questioning if Mexico should be hosting major events. Some reports from Mexico state a lack of sufficient police presence as well as a lacking event organisation. Factors that could stop a tragedy from happening at such a scale. The full reconstruction of events will only be possible in the following days.

As politicians are advocating for “zero tolerance” football fans want their game back. They need justice and safety: “The people of Querétaro are dismayed because we are a city and state of working people. We reject violence.”, another local commentator told me. He understandably doesn’t want tonight’s tragedy to ruin the image of his compatriots.

For now, there is no more football in Mexico, a country that adores it more than any other sport. The testimonies are being collected, the victims still counted all in hope this doesn’t mark the death of the People’s game.

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