January 16, 2018
Friday, April 21, 2017

Finally... a decree to stop hooligans?

Oscar “Sapo” Gómez, accused of instigating the assault of Emanuel Balbo, the Belgrano fan killed last weekend was taken into custody this week
By Eric Weil / Sportsworld

But it does not look so effective

This column mentioned some time ago that the Security Ministry had sent a bill to Congress to make the punishment for hooliganism more severe, mainly by sending them straight to jail. We also mentioned that this bill would get stuck in Congress where, it seems, there are too many members related to hooligans. The government seems to have finally realised that and passed the law by decree. But at first sight it looks toothless.

According to what has been published, the government will take over the control of who enters a soccer stadium. They have a list of some 2,200 hooligans, but there are a lot more because clubs only include what they call their unofficial group of hooligans and not what they call their “official” gang. This will be checked by police, but we all know that the police are connected with the hooligans and while it was often talked about forming a special police force for this purpose, it was never done.

Are the clubs now free of responsibility? No! they can no longer modify their list of hooligans and if any member of the club committee is found guilty of helping or supporting the hooligans (free tickets, cash, etc.), they will be punished. It did not say what punishment. Hooligans would go straight to court and then to jail. The hooligans who look after your car at stadiums are included in all this. The resale of tickets will also be prohibited as it always has been, but never investigated.

Another point mentioned is that a hooligan who gives the authorities details of other hooligans and their activities will be treated more lightly by the courts, but this is never likely to happen, because he is sure to be killed by hooligans.

But last week-end there was yet another brutal murder by the Belgrano (Córdoba) gang, because they thought the man was a Talleres (Córdoba) fan. If that is a sound reason, it must have come from lunatics who should have been admitted to a mental institution long ago. Now what happens? Many of the Belgrano gang have been arrested or turned themselves in and the judge in charge of the case must give them life sentences ... and if he does not, he should be indicted for being an accessory to a murder.


Sevilla coach Jorge Sampaoli continues as favourite to take over as national team coach of Argentina, but as there are no more World Cup qualifying matches until the end of August, several Argentine Football Association (AFA) officials seem to be in no hurry to sign a coach. Or is it the 1,5 million euros they would have to pay the Spanish club to release him from his contract?


Boca Juniors continue to lead the National Championship, although strangely they lost a point at home to lowly Patronato last week-end. They seem to lose matches they should win, but it is noticeable that they never field the same lineup, partly because of a number of injuries. It is also noticeable that they have goals converted against them following free-kicks.


At international matches after the national anthem — which we could do without — we get the coin toss, a ceremonial moment with the captains exchanging pennants and smiles (which does not stop them kicking each other afterwards). But the toss itself is meaningless with the winner choosing on which side to start the game. But more important is the other coin toss, the one which decides which team takes the first shot in a penalty shoot-out.

There are convincing statistics to show that the team shooting first has a 60-40 percent advantage of winning the match. These statistics, by the way, were published in Spain from 270 shoot-outs some years ago, but the mentioned advantage is still seen today.


My first SPORTSWORLD column was written around 1960 — it was then called “Viewpoint” — and it said that a roof should be built over the polo stadium in Palermo so that not so many games had to be postponed because of rain. People said this was ridiculous and perhaps it is still something which would be extremely difficult to do.

However, 50 years later the dream of the polo authorities is to have a roof over the Palermo stadium as in Wimbledon.


The world record in low scoring was produced in 1939 between teams of the Buenos Aires Cricket Club (now the Buenos Aires Cricket and Rugby Club) and the Pacific Railway AC (now San Martín). BACC started a man short and another arrived just a bit too late to bat as the innings finished so quickly at three for eight wickets. Pacific Railway won with four runs for no wickets.


In 1947, River Plate, the famous “Máquina” team scored three goals in the first half against Huracán. In the second 45 minutes, they took it easy and did not score again. Afterwards, Juan Manuel Moreno — who can be compared among the greats such as Diego Maradona and Alfredo Di Stéfano, although it was another period — shouted at the players in the dressing-room: ‘You should be ashamed of yourself of cheating the spectators like this. They pay to see us play for 90 minutes, not just 45.”

I suppose he was right, but today you see so many games with a lot of the players not really playing.

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