Liga MX brawl: Queretaro owners barred for five years, club to be sold, supporters group banned after incident

Liga MX has announced their penalties after brawls took place between fans and went onto the pitch at Estadio Corregidora on Saturday. The incident — which happened during a Liga MX game between Queretaro and Atlas — left 26 people hospitalized, with three injured critically. Of the 26 in the hospital, 19 have been released. According to local reports, 10 arrests have been made. Authorities have arrest warrants out for 15 people involved in the incident.  

Queretaro have forfeited the match against Atlas by a 3-0 score. The team has reverted to former owner Jorge Alberto, but will have to be sold within a year while the members of the current ownership group will be banned for five years. This includes, president Gabriel Solares, co-owner Greg Taylor, Adolfo Rios, and Manuel Valverde. There is a stadium ban for all matches but the men’s and women’s team can still play there as long as matches are played behind closed doors with a full security perimeter around the stadium. 

The Atlas supporters group will be banned for six months while the Queretaro supporters will be banned for a year. Anyone found guilty of assault or other crimes during the brawl will be banned for life. Queretaro will also be fined a sum of 1.5 million pesos which is equivalent to about 70 thousand dollars. The stadium ban can also be extended by the league.

A few other broader changes to league policy will come as a result of the incident as well. Clubs can no longer support fan groups with tickets, funds or things of that nature. All home supporters groups will also need to be identified, similar to measures that will be taken during the United States World Cup Qualifying match at Azteca on March 24. There will also be a fan ID program starting in 2022-23 that uses facial recognition to identify all fans within stadiums and a new security division will be formed to improve match security.

No players were injured, but they have since become the target of threats, according to manager Hernán Cristante, and Queretaro, says players on his team received death threats. 

“My players have received death threats, they don’t feel safe, their wives are thinking of fleeing,” he said, “We didn’t do anything, [the players] helped people, they opened the dressing room doors, they found ways to help. It wouldn’t be out of place if someone didn’t want to continue [playing], the club is heartbroken.”

The players released a video saying they are “saddened by the events that occurred last weekend,” while categorically condemning those involved in the brawl.

Cristante told fans that flooded onto the field to “get them outside,” saying he was attempting to stop the chaos rather than induce more violence. The coach told reporters, “The [attackers] said ‘let’s get them’ and they wanted to enter the tunnel and I told them there will be a tragedy, I took them to the other side and I said ‘yes, yes get them outside.'”

FIFA has spoken out, saying it was “shocked at the tragic incident that took place.” FIFA added that the violence that occurred is “unacceptable and intolerable.” 

Atlas coach Diego Cocca also spoke out against the attack, saying, “We grew up with and believe in the values of sport, which is why we are here together, because we want football without violence and in peace.”

Mikel Arriola, Liga MX president, suggested during a club owners meeting on Tuesday that fans of both teams involved would be banned from their team’s away games. Ten people been arrested by state authorities in central Mexico, per the Associated Press.

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