BUENOS AIRES, Argentina (AP) — At least one person died as police clashed with soccer fans trying to enter an Argentine league game on Thursday night, and the referee stopped the match as clouds Tear gas sprayed inside the stadium.
Authorities and witnesses said fans of local team Gimnasia y Esgrima struggled to enter an already full stadium, and police fired rubber bullets and tear gas in an attempt to make push back the crowd.
The incident came less than a week after the use of tear gas inside a football stadium in Indonesia sparked a crush that left 131 people dead.
Nine minutes into Thursday night’s match between Gimnasia and Boca Juniors, referee Hernán Mastrángelo suspended play. The league said on Twitter that he acted due to the lack of security.
The players withdrew to their locker rooms and many spectators invaded the pitch to try to escape the tear gas.
“Unfortunately there is a death. He died of a heart problem,” Sergio Berni, the province’s security minister, told Todo Noticias.
Berni gave no details about the circumstances in which this person died.
Only Gimnasia fans have been at the Juan Carmelo Zerillo stadium in La Plata, since the province of Buenos Aires banned fans of visiting teams from games in 2013 amid frequent outbreaks of violence.
The Argentine Football Association said in a tweet that it “expresses its commitment to continue working to eradicate this kind of episode that tarnishes the celebration of football”.
No new date has been announced for the resumption of play.
Some fans claimed there was an oversell of tickets amid the excitement over the game between the teams battling for the league title, saying people probably got angry when they couldn’t enter the stadium.
In its security protocols, FIFA advises against the use of tear gas in or around stadiums to avoid risky situations like in La Plata or in Indonesia last Saturday. FIFA rules do not necessarily apply to domestic or domestic leagues, but are considered a safety standard.
FIFA also recommends that exit doors be unlocked at all times during a match for security reasons. Indonesia’s president said locked gates contributed to deaths in the city of Malang, when police fired tear gas to control crowds inside the stadium, triggering a panicked rush and causing a crush in front of several exits. It was one of the deadliest disasters in the world at a sporting event.
Associated Press writer Débora Rey contributed to this report.
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