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SBD Global/October 7, 2013/International Football

Argentina's Top Rivalry Match Played With Boca Fans Banned From River's El Monumental

There is "nothing in Argentina with more passion" than the rivalry between Argentine first division sides River Plate and Boca Juniors, according to Rafael Molina of EL CONFIDENCIAL. The match, "which turned 100 in August," experienced "an unusual matchday Sunday, when there were no Boca fans at River Plate's El Monumental stadium." Argentine FA President Julio Grondona and Argentina Security Secretary Sergio Berni decided in late September "to maintain a ban on visiting fans from opponents' stadiums." That decision "also applied to Sunday's match." In a country where "football is not a question of life or death, but something even more important, the battle between River and Boca dramatizes Argentina's passion for football." This was "not the first time visiting fans were prevented from attending a match between top Argentine clubs." In the semifinals of the '04 Copa Libertadores, the matches "took place with only fans of the home teams in attendance." This law "will be in effect until the end of the year to eliminate the fights that had been taking place outside stadiums." Despite "the absence of visiting fans, the amount of security was not reduced." Nearly "1,000 security officers were charged with maintaining order." To avoid "Boca Juniors fans entering the game, River announced on Friday that those who bought tickets without being club members would receive refunds or be able to trade their Boca-River tickets for tickets to see River play its next home game against Lanus" (EL CONFIDENCIAL, 10/6).

ARGENTINA 'PARALYZED': In Madrid, Topo López of AS wrote "for an instant, the streets of Argentina were desolate." The cities "became ghost towns." For 90 minutes, "all the eyes of Argentina were focused on the mythical turf at El Monumental." In the midst of "great excitement, with all the tickets sold out, the Superclásico wrote another thrilling chapter in its rich history of duels and rivalries" (AS, 10/6). 
 
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