Forget what you've heard about Argentine football (soccer). Forget the brochures that call you to visit Buenos Aires and attend a superclásico, River Plate vs. Boca Juniors, and share the passion of Argentinians for this sport, right there by the fervorous masses of hinchas.
If you're willing to "share the passion" in the form of smoking and inhaling various drugs, threatening the other team at the top of your voice with various forms of rape followed by murder, employing grossly racist epithets to qualify the other fans, drinking really bad wine from a cardboard box and then go out and pick a fight with whoever happens to cross your path, then go ahead. That's Argentine football live, by and large.
Yes, of course the majority of the attendants are not like that... But if so, why do they keep going to the matches? To mingle with the mob? To feel the rush of being in mortal danger for two hours a week? To let their inner beasts loose so they don't kill the wife when they come back home?
A Racing-Boca match scheduled for this weekend has been suspended because of this violence. Racing, the host, said it was not going to allow certain Boca Juniors' barrabravas (local, less sophisticated versions of the infamous Hooligans) into the stadium. The chieftain of this mob, Rafael Di Zeo, said it was discrimination and (since being a gangster often goes hand in hand with having well-oiled contacts with the judiciary) went to a judge. Judge Raúl Calvente said that Racing must let Di Zeo in. Given that, Buenos Aires Province Security Minister, León Arslanián, let Racing know that the Provincial Police was not going to deal with the security of the match. Judge Calvente later excused himself from the procedure and claimed that he had been "threatened" by the Security Ministry.
All of this would not have happened if:
- Di Zeo and his mob was not backed by judges and politicians, including wannabe presidential candidate and head of Boca Juniors, Mauricio Macri.
- Football matches were set up, within a legal framework, so as to stop the admittance of notoriously violent mobsters, of whom Di Zeo is merely one example.
- The common, non-violent soccer fans agreed to set aside their passion for a few weekends and boycotted these chaotic spectacles.
- Real criminals were ever punished.