Violence During Las Vegas Soccer Exhibition Shows Work To Be Done At U.S. Venues
With the crowd violence erupting at an exhibition between Liga MX teams Club America and Chivas de Guadalajara last week in Las Vegas, the U.S. is "getting its first taste of the highly organized, hierarchical groups that form around soccer teams," according to Tovin Lapan of the LAS VEGAS SUN. Security experts Greg Gillin and Patrick Carr, who work with the EPL, "emphasized the importance of team officials, stadium officials and local governments working together to create a safe environment where troublemakers are held accountable." Event security company Contemporary Services Corp. VP/Training Dane Dodd said, "This kind of spectator violence is unfortunately increasing in all venues. It’s not just at UNLV’s stadium or just with soccer. It’s happening in the NFL, MLB and other sports. Fans have been killed, shot, engaged in nasty fights, pushed over railings. It’s all becoming more commonplace." Dodd said that "in general, officials in charge of stadium security are taking extensive preventive measures, including researching fan clubs, analyzing past incidents of violence and assigning team staff members as liaisons for the fan clubs." Lapan noted Latin Sports, the game’s promoter, "leased Sam Boyd Stadium and Thomas & Mack management, which operates the stadium, was in charge of security." The officials "get an immediate test of their new strategies" for increasing security "as another exhibition soccer game is scheduled for Saturday at Sam Boyd" between Liga MX club Monarcas Morelia and El Salvador club Luis Angel Firpo. The "tightened security will include 100 part-time workers and 50 police officers" for "an expected 3,000 fans" (LAS VEGAS SUN, 7/11).
DON'T RUSH TO JUDGMENT: In Las Vegas, Ray Brewer wrote, "Don't judge all soccer fans by what happened last week in Las Vegas. And not just fans in Las Vegas -- worldwide." The crowd violence was "one of the worst black-eyes in our town's sports history." The fans "ruining the soccer experience seem to have one thing in common: They live and die with the outcome of a meaningless soccer game." It is "inaccurate" to think all soccer fans "lack common sense and decency" (LAS VEGAS SUN, 7/11).