Soccer  

Boca Juniors, Gimnasia game abandoned as tear gas hits field leaving one person dead

At least one person died after clashes between fans and police forced the Argentine league match between Gimnasia La Plata and Boca Juniors to be abandoned on Thursday.

The match was stopped after nine minutes by referee Hernan Mastrangelo amid serious incidents outside the stadium that led the police to fire tear gas, with the official sighting a lack of security to control the situation.

According to authorities, fans of the local team Gimnasia were trying to force their way into an already packed stadium. Police used rubber bullets and tear gas to force the fans to retreat.

“Unfortunately there is a dead person. He died of a heart problem,” said Sergio Berni, minister of security for the province of Buenos Aires. The tear gas entered the field with pictures showing players and fans covering their faces, while supporters made their way onto the pitch looking for a quick exit.

Berni gave no details about the circumstances in which the person died.

The Argentine Football Association posted a a statement on its Twitter account condemning the incident and violence: “The AFA strongly repudiates the events that took place today in the vicinity of Gimnasia stadium and expresses its commitment to continue working to eradicate this kind of incidents that tarnishes the spirit of football.”

Only Gimnasia fans were in Juan Carmelo Zerillo Stadium in La Plata, since Buenos Aires province banned supporters of visiting teams from games in 2013 amid frequent outbreaks of violence.

Gimnasia player Leonardo Morales said: “My 2-year-old son couldn’t breathe. We feel desperate and worried about all the people in the stands. This is crazy. We were playing a normal football game and it turned it into this and the feeling that our relatives almost died.”

The incident in Argentina comes on the heels of a tragedy at a soccer match in Indonesia on Saturday that left at least 125 people dead after police fired tear gas inside the stadium, causing chaotic scenes where fans were trampled on and suffocated.

Attention in Indonesia immediately focused on the police use of tear gas, and witnesses described police beating them with sticks and shields before shooting canisters directly into the crowds.

On Monday, an Indonesian police chief and nine elite officers were removed from their posts, while 18 others were being investigated as the government tried to determine what led to the use of force and tear gas.

Information from the Associated Press was used in this story.