ERIC WEIL in BUENOS AIRES: Hooligan gangs continue to attack players of their own clubs in training in Argentina.

Latest victims have been Velez Sarsfield and Lamadrid but this happens at almost every club at one time or another if they do not win enough games.

If a player reports it to the police, he is marked for ‘special attention’ by the hooligans; if the club reports it to the police – which often they do not because they have a hooligan dominated committee – it has little effect. The police send a squad car to avert trouble for a few days and then leave the players are without protection again.

Argentinian Rafael Olarra, formerly with Independiente and in Chile, was asked in an interview about hooligan gangs there and said it was nothing like in Argentina where he and other players had to pay monthly ‘protection’ money for the safety of his family and himself.

The concept of sport that one or other team has to lose does not appear to be understood by the hooligans.

At Boca Juniors this writer has seen gang leaders with their backs to the pitch for the entire game, directing the chants of the gang all through the game.

An even stranger problem occurred at River Plate the other day where a member of the Boca press department was recognised, attacked by River Plate fans and ended up in hospital. Security officials and police looked on but did not intervene – only advising the injured man to jump down to pitch level.

No action has been taken against River by the Argentinian federation.

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