RIVER PLATE CAN’T PIN VIOLENCE ON ‘MINORITY’
RIVER PLATE are resisting the decision to move the second leg of the Copa Libertadores final to Madrid. ‘Argentinian football as a whole and the Argentinian FA cannot and should not allow a handful of violent fans to impede the Superclasico taking place in our country,’ read a club statement. Anyone who has seen the footage of the attack on Boca Juniors’ bus knows it was not a handful causing trouble. This cliché is trotted out every time football is blighted by violence. It is always a handful, a minority, always caveats about the majority, as if we should praise humanity for attending an event with civility. Tyson Fury’s trainer Ben Davison fell into the trap in Los Angeles, commending his man for not starting a riot by publicly criticising the judges immediately after his fight with Deontay Wilder. He implied that had Fury reacted with anger, thousands of his followers would have turned nasty, too. Yet is this where we are? Lauding ourselves for not reducing the arena to rubble if our favourite doesn’t win? River Plate forfeited their right to host a Copa Libertadores final when their fans behaved appallingly and injured members of the Boca Juniors team. It wasn’t a handful. It was a coordinated attack by many, and it is the club’s longstanding indulgence that empowered them to do it.