ERIC WEIL in BUENOS AIRES: It seems ironic that Oscar Laino, the chief of the Buenos Aires Province sports security department (Aprevide), should say that hooligan violence is uncontrollable when his department is there to control it.
He is not on his own in his predicament as the police do not seem to be able to control hooligans either as was seen at incidents in Laferrére and more recently at the Arsenal stadium.
Now it seems that many police officers do not want to undertake duty at matches even though they receive extra pay. According to one policeman some of the money stays with the senior officers who do not go to the matches.
Laino chiefly blames judges and politicians, as is was known, and the question continues to come up – how many judges and politicians are closely linked with the hooligans?
He says there are recent examples of the Aprevide ordering that a match must not be played or not with spectators, and a judge gives the order that it should be played and with spectators.
Or Aprevide orders a match to be played without spectators and a high-ranking politician puts pressure on to allow spectators in, particularly referring to Quilmes of whom said politician is president.
Laino said that Arsenal will receive punishment. In fact it was not so much Arsenal’s fault. The row started when they would not let one of their hooligan leaders into the stadium and then police action was completely inadequate.
As mentioned in a previous column, one has the impression that police are ordered not to hurt hooligans – and that judges are able to change orders of a government department, especially when they go directly against security, is the result of a flawed judicial system.
River Plate fans were annoyed this week that Mexican team Tigres, already qualified for the knock-out stage of the Libertadores Cup, took a reserve team to play Juan Aurich (Peru) which had been in a position to eliminate River Plate from the cup.
But they fail to remember that River Plate has done the same many times to distort league and cup championships. Yet the club´s president.
D’Onofrio, talking sense for once, saying that the Mexican club had a perfect right to do this and River Plate would have done the same in a similar situation. But when talking about local soccer, one cannot keep out the hooligans which practically control it.
Former River Plate hooligan gang leader Alan Schlenker has just been sentenced to 12 years in jail for a murder in 2001 – 14 years ago – in which he was accused of being involved.
He was immediately detained, but there will be an appeal.
Curiously, he and his brother were given life sentences by a court in 2011 for being involved in the murder of another gang member, Gonzalo Acro, but remained free as the sentence had to be confirmed by another court which has not been done, but says it will be dealt with next month.
Three River Plate hooligans were detained, all with previous police records, in the River Plate car park recently with 300 membership cards, arms and mustard gas.
The accusation of holding 300 membership cards did not prosper, because the club, known to protect hooligans, said the cards had payment up to date and it would not say where they got them from.
As for arms, two of the men were sentenced to 40 hours community work and a 4-months ban from going to the stadium when they should have gone to prison for carrying arms inside the stadium.
The attack by curiously called ‘non-official’ hooligans against the more curiously named ‘official’ gang in the club’s bar in November last year was put under a judge, Fabiana Palmaghini, who has already put several behind bars, pending trial.
Also accused are the club vice-president (Matías Patanian) and other officials and employees, as a result of details (below) given of the hooligans links.
The ‘official gang’, not only the others, were also accused by the judge of being an ‘illicit organisation. Is this progress at last?
Ariel Calvisi, the leader of the ‘unofficial’ gang testified before Judge Palmaghini that with agreement of employees and police, on match days two turnstiles are unblocked at entrances D and E where hooligans enter free and other people for large payment.
He also mentioned the gang’s close relationship with the club members department where membership cards come from which the gang loan out at high prices.
Calvisi says club officials and police are aware of this and also they let the ‘official gang’ collect cash in the car park.
Calvisi further said that in the bar there is a table reserved for the hooligans (Nr. 80) and the club pays the bill for what they order.
For musical recitals they are also given seats to rent and the exclusive right to sell drinks in the stadium, while there are also unblocked turnstiles for hooligans to sell tickets and get in free.
He also gave names of the link with police station 51 which covers the area and with the Security Ministry.
This enables the ‘official hooligans’ to avoid stadium bans, but not for the ‘unofficial’ ones. There is no more room to add further revelations.
Although being among the accused, Calvisi did not testify under oath, a lot of this testimony has already been proved, so now the question is: when do these people go to trial?
# # # #