Madness and magic from Maradona’s motherland
Can you remember how incensed you were when all-seater stadiums became law?
"It's going to lose the atmosphere of the terrace!" they shouted. And well, I think it has. So as FIFA demand that Argentina's Primera clubs do likewise, the same complaints are being heard.
In fact, it should have happened a year ago. The clubs, in true Argentinian style, have merely ignored them. But after the horrendous terrace violence of last season the big clubs are beginning, slowly, to increase the percentage.
Will it kill the unique atmosphere of an Argentinian football game? Well, at least it will give away fans more ammunition to rip up and throw. But it did partly work in stemming UK violence and to be frank they have to try anything here.
Boca fans in their season-ticket spots at La Bombonera
FIFA are asking that 90 per cent of stadiums are seated by, erm, August 8 – the other 10 per cent? Well that's for the barra bravas of course (can anyone else see a flaw in the plan?)
River Plate need to add another 4,500 seats to comply with the rules. San Lorenzo? 8,000. And Boca Juniors a whopping 12,000 seats. Boca have the most difficult problem. Their tiny stadium is already built up vertiginously high, and they are already well over capacity at most games.
There has been talk for years about moving the stadium, but it is a massively unpopular idea and no president has been brave enough to push it through – especially remembering that the presidents are voted in by the fans, strong armed by the barra brava.
For the time being, it looks as though the terrace atmosphere will remain. And for the violence? We'll know when the season starts onAugust 8.
Don't do it! You'd lose more than you'd gain.
The Germans have another way of supporting football (somewhere between the two) but how much of their experience is useable in the South American context is debatable.
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