Thu, May 10, 2018 - Page 16 News List

Argentina to sign deal to bar World Cup-bound ‘barras’


The Argentine government is to sign an accord with Russia aimed at preventing the nation’s more than 3,000 hooligans who are expected to travel to this year’s World Cup from attending matches, officials said on Tuesday.

The deal, which is to be formally signed in the coming days, includes the names of fans banned from Argentine soccer grounds and other known members of the notorious barras bravas, the organized fan groups who have wreaked havoc at local stadiums.

“A list of 400 names of Argentines who will not be able to enter stadiums was handed over and it is estimated that the definitive database we send will have around 3,000 names,” said Guillermo Madero, the director of security at Argentine soccer matches.

The information is to be shared with airlines and Russian immigration authorities, and Argentine officials say the Fan ID, which supporters get when they buy tickets to the games, would act as another barrier.

Argentina is also to send six law enforcement officials to Russia to help coordinate with local police and officials from the other 30 competing nations.

The barras are fixtures at most top Argentine clubs and have been responsible for much of the violence that has sullied the domestic game in recent years.

In addition to launching violent attacks on other fans and sometimes players, they control the sale of some tickets and are often involved in other illegal activities outside soccer.

Argentine media have reported that barras from the Boca Juniors met with their counterparts from Russian clubs Dynamo Moscow and Zenit St Petersburg in February, and officials are taking as many preventive measures as possible.

“We believe that the barras will go to Russia whatever, but they are not going to get into the grounds,” said Juan Manuel Lugones, executive secretary of the agency set up to prevent violence at sports events in Buenos Aires.

About 44,882 Argentines have bought tickets for the tournament, FIFA statistics showed.

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