ERIC WEIL in BUENOS AIRES: Surely, beyond a joke. Every time the Argentinian authorities start investigating the connection between hooligans and football club committees, they put a new judge who has to start from scratch to discover what has already been found out.
Judge Fabiana Palmaghini called River Plate’s president, Rodolfo D’Onofrio to testify last week about the fight between “official” and “unofficial” hooligans in the club on November 25.
She wanted to know how they get into the club and stadium when they are banned, from where do they get match tickets, why they are still members of the club (many with police records) and how they manage to travel all over America with the team if, as they declare, they are unemployed.
Trouble is, she called the wrong man to testify and although D’Onofrio said he told her everything he knew, it is known that he did not tell anything useful to the investigation.
Judge Palmaghini had already taken testimony from four of the attacked ‘official’ hooligans who told her a lot more without giving names of their ‘inside connections.’
Up to now there is an order to detain 11 of the hooligans but nobody is in jail yet.
Will there ever be?
A month after the “battle”, River Plate had still not gone to court against its hooligans … obviously not against the ‘official’ ones.
The last prosecutor investigating this scandal, which has been going on much before November 25, was removed from the case when he had most of the evidence.
Meanwhile, at Boca Juniors, Judge Manuel De Campos continues an investigation of several years which crops up again occasionally.
Last week he took away the club members’ register and records of entries through turnstiles. But he has already known for a long time that in every match two turnstiles stop working so that hooligans can enter without tickets and others who buy tickets from hooligans and there are duplicate membership cards given to hooligans by club employees which the former rent out.
He also found a security staff member who appeared to have “used his credential 60 times to enter and leave the stadium within a few minutes” — obviously to let in spectators who pay him. This is stealing money from the club and he should already be in jail.
The club committee is to blame for the frequent fighting between hooligans of the same club by giving tickets, etc. to the “official” gang and not to the others. Hooligans can enter with firearms, while a reader said the other day that they even took a pen off him when he was frisked on the way into the stadium. More serious fighting is expected soon, but may be Judge De Campo will finish his investigation soon.