Mexican Bishops Condemn Football Brawl, Call for Respect and Tolerance

MEXICO CITY — Mexican church leaders have condemned a horrific brawl between fans at a professional soccer game, the footage of which horrified the country and raised uncomfortable questions about the rising violence that further permeates Mexican life .

The fight broke out during a match on March 5 in the central city of Querétaro between supporters of local team Querétaro and supporters of rival team Atlas.

Querétaro Governor Mauricio Kuri said the melee left 26 fans injured – with no deaths, contrary to initial media reports – although Guadalajara-based Atlas supporters flooded social media with calls for help to find the missing fans.

The Mexican bishops’ conference said in a statement immediately after the incident that it “categorically condemns any episode of violence, no matter how small.”

“We urge sports clubs, authorities and civil society to make football and all sports an opportunity to create spaces of integration and not of confrontation (to) rebuild the social fabric, so damaged and in need of dialogue , respect, understanding and tolerance,” the Bishops said.

Horrific footage broadcast from the Corregidora stadium showed unconscious fans, beaten bodies strewn naked through the stadium halls and frightened families rushing onto the pitch for safety. The fighting spilled over to the field and some fighters could be seen with weapons.

In a widely shared tweet on March 5, Auxiliary Bishop Alfonso Miranda de Monterrey said, “Mexico must urgently stop and reconcile. No more hatred, no more physical or verbal aggression.

The bishop continued: “Violence at Querétaro stadium, 17 dead in (San) José de Gracia” – where videos showed gunmen presumably linked to a drug cartel executing 17 people during a funeral wake – ” it’s too much. Let’s be silent, let’s pause, let’s say a truce, let’s say a prayer. We can’t go on like this. »

The violence and bloodshed stunned Mexico, where football had been spared the excessive fan violence common in other countries. The scuffle came as the country’s crackdown on organized crime violence and drug cartels drags on and the homicide rate remains stubbornly high.

President Andrés Manuel López Obrador, who promoted a security policy of “hugs, no bullets” despite verbally attacking his critics daily during morning press conferences, attributed the violence to the lingering impact of the neoliberalism promoted by previous governments. He also promised to further promote his plan to “learn the country’s morality” and tackle the root causes of crime.

Comments are closed.