Spain braces for Copa vi­o­lence

Jamaica Gleaner - - SPORTS -

AGROUP OF 400 to 500 ‘es­pe­cially vi­o­lent’ fans from Ar­gentina are ex­pected to make the trip to Madrid for this week­end’s Copa Lib­er­ta­dores fi­nal be­tween River Plate and Boca Ju­niors, Span­ish author­i­ties said yes­ter­day.

Of­fi­cials said al­most 4,000 se­cu­rity per­son­nel will be de­ployed for to­mor­row’s match, nearly dou­ble the number used in the ‘cla­si­cos’ be­tween Real Madrid and Barcelona.

The gov­ern­ment of­fi­cial over­see­ing the city’s se­cu­rity plans for the ‘high risk’ match said po­lice will re­main on high alert to de­tect and keep track of fans, who could po­ten­tially cause prob­lems be­fore, dur­ing and after the fi­nal at San­ti­ago Bern­abeu Sta­dium.

“The na­tional po­lice is work­ing closely with the Ar­gen­tine po­lice,” Jose Manuel Ro­driguez Uribes told Cadena SER ra­dio yes­ter­day. “We are work­ing with the max­i­mum se­cu­rity level at the air­port, high­ways, bus stops and sub­way sta­tions.”

One Boca Ju­niors fan known to be a leader of a sup­port­ers’ group was not al­lowed to en­ter the coun­try after ar­riv­ing in Madrid on Thurs­day. He was sent back to Ar­gentina after author­i­ties said he had a long crim­i­nal record. Span­ish me­dia re­ported a River fan was also de­ported yes­ter­day after fail­ing to gain per­mis­sion to en­ter the coun­try.

Tens of thou­sands of Ar­gen­tines are ex­pected to come to Spain to watch to­mor­row’s fi­nal, which was moved to Madrid after fan vi­o­lence marred the sec­ond leg in Buenos Aires two weeks ago. Boca Ju­niors play­ers were in­jured be­fore the match when River fans at­tacked the Boca team bus with rocks, bot­tles and wood.

The first leg, played in Buenos Aires, ended in a 2-2 draw. Nearly 80,000 fans are ex­pected at the Bern­abeu. Each club was granted 25,000 tick­ets and author­i­ties will try to keep them sep­a­rated through­out the day.

SEP­A­RATE ZONES

They will be po­si­tioned at op­po­site sides of the Bern­abeu, be­hind each goal. Sep­a­rate fan zones will be avail­able for sup­port­ers from each club.

Sev­eral se­cu­rity lay­ers will be im­ple­mented near the sta­dium, with large ve­hi­cles be­ing kept from cir­cu­lat­ing close to the venue. The Bern­abeu is lo­cated in a heav­ily pop­u­lated area of the Span­ish cap­i­tal.

Ti­tle cel­e­bra­tions would take place in dif­fer­ent ar­eas of the city. River fans would go to the Plaza de Colon, while Boca sup­port­ers would go to the Plaza de Ci­beles, known for Real Madrid’s ti­tle cel­e­bra­tions.

Madrid of­fi­cials es­ti­mate the Copa Lib­er­ta­dores fi­nal will gen­er­ate a pos­i­tive eco­nomic im­pact of nearly €40 mil­lion ($45 mil­lion) to the city.

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