Eleven Chileans banned from Argentina after football violence

The Colo-Colo fans were convicted of gang robbery after they visited Mendoza for the Copa Libertadores game against Godoy Cruz

Eleven Chilean football fans were deported from Argentina and banned from returning after being convicted of robbery, the National Directorate for Migration confirmed on Tuesday.

They were arrested in Mendoza during violence linked to the Copa Libertadores match between Godoy Cruz and Chilean side Colo-Colo. One Chilean remains in custody awaiting trial for sexual assault.

Violence broke out before and after the game, resulting in the arrests of 12 Chilean citizens. Eight were detained on February 22, the day of the game, after robbing a small shop in the city center. Three more were arrested the next day after attacking and robbing a group of journalists from Mendoza’s Canal 7 at the Plaza Independencia. 

The incidents were the latest in several episodes of violence sparked by fans of the Chilean team, which is known for its troublesome barrabrava, when visiting Argentina. Last June, 56 people were arrested and six were hospitalized after Colo-Colo fans brawled with their Boca opponents in the streets of Buenos Aires. The Chilean fans were fined AR$1 million for the damage caused.

They were charged with gang robbery and sentenced to three years in prison in an expedited trial. The sentence was suspended for both groups, but Military Police escorted them to the Chilean-Argentine border, where they were expelled from Argentina and banned from returning.

The only individual still in custody awaiting trial is charged with commiting a rape at gunpoint on February 21. He faces between eight and 20 years in prison.

The game, a 1-0 win for the Chilean side, confirmed Godoy Cruz’s elimination from the Copa Libertadores, after a 0-0 tie in the first game in Chile. The incidents adds to a list of violent clashes between home sides and international visiting fans in South American football. Boca fans clashed with their Fluminense counterparts and Rio de Janeiro police in the build-up to the 2023 Copa Libertadores, with Boca fans also facing repression at the hands of the Montevideo police in August.


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