ERIC WEIL in BUENOS AIRES —- Argentina’s new government has created a special law office to combat football hooligans. It says this is the first step for the government to take charge of stopping admission to stadiums of hooligans on the banned lists.

The prospects of it proving any more successful than previous measures are slim, at most.

Daniel Passarella: in trouble over ticket sales

This new strategy will only keep the hooligans out of stadia but not put them in jail. A first transgression would only mean 72 hours community work and the second ‘could’ mean up to six years in jail.

The police would be in charge of this but too many police have often helped the hooligans in the past.

The help of club committees would also be necessary but this has never been possible and there was no mention of taking action against club officials.

Security force

The government had said in 2011 that it would replace police with a special football security force but this was never accomplished.

Only this year, court cases were started against the Tigre gang whose fighting in 2013 left two dead.

This, as usual, was started by the club committee which had what they called an ‘official gang’  which got free tickets and other benefits, and the rest unofficial.

The trial clarified a connection between the hooligans and the club committee, police and politicians.

The hooligan chief managed the bar of the club and said he saw nothing because he was inside it; another hooligan was in charge of the club’s merchandising shop and so on.

The same hooligan also said that 24 of them went to last year’s World Cup in Brazil with 13 paid for by the government and 11 with the help of the San Fernando municipality which allowed them to put four barbecue stands on the street and put them in charge of a car park.

Phone taps

Another trial was that of former River Plate president Daniel Passarella over the resale of tickets through hooligans – something common to every club.

Firstly, resellers have to give evidence then the hooligans followed by police and club officials. Also involved, apparently proved by from phone taps, were members of the Kirchner government but the judge decided to overlook this.

Another trial against the River Plate hooligans saw two acquitted for robbery and assault.

In 2010. a trial began against 23 leading Racing Club hooligans for fighting and killing one man eight years earlier. There is no further news.

In Huracán, missiles were thrown at San Lorenzo players. One manm who threw a bottle at a San Lorenzo player was arrested and detained overnight before being released.

Again, nothing further happened.

Gang violence

Only two Aldosivi hooligans went to jail for four and four-and-a-half years for killing related to the gang..

A fight between River Plate hooligans in 2007, with some injured,, was finally resolved with the hooligans going free after eight years because the police testified they saw nothing.

It appears they left the zone free as they often do when hooligans fight.

Referee Pezzotta was threatened at half-time to give River Plate a penalty in their vital match against Belgrano two years ago when River Plate were relegated. Recently he gave evidence against them but the club were cleared.

Panadero Napolitano, the man who threw acid at River Plate players as they came out for the second half to play their Libertadores Cup match last year against Boca Juniors, has also been freed.

Boca lost the points and were barred from the cup which River went on to win. Napolitano was handed a three-year suspended jail sentence.

Police have also recently detained 20 Independiente hooligans for bringing banners into the stadium without being searched. It was found that five of them were Venezuelans who committed other crimes. Of, course, as hooligans the law protected them.