Crooked supporters: the criminal side of Argentine soccer

By Iacopo Luzi and Siying Li

In Argentina there is a passion that beats everything else: the passion for soccer.

Soccer is the main topic of discussion in almost every bar in Buenos Aires. The first story in newscasts is often the results of the last match. Love of the sport is demonstrated throughout the city.

Supporters pack stadiums and every match becomes a great show: songs, flags, chants and smoke bombs. This is soccer in Argentina.

However, beyond the passion, there are some dark shadows that obscure the sport. Some people were able to convert a passion for soccer into an illegal business.

These people are called “Barra Bravas”.

Many people believe that these groups of organized supporters are just violent troublemakers who sometimes create turmoil before and after a soccer match.

The Barra Bravas phenomenon was born in the 70s. Decades later, the nature of these groups got worse due to the increasing amount of money inside the soccer world.

Today, like organized criminal organizations, the Barra Bravas groups generate around 300,000 pesos a month, according to some Argentine government statistics.

After being elected, Argentina President Mauricio Macri said he would do something about the Barra Bravas phenomenon, but no  concrete steps have been taken to stop these soccer gangs run by fans.

Photo on top: La Bombonera or The Estadio Alberto J. Armando is the stadium located in La Boca district in Buenos Aires (Iacopo Luzi/MedillReports)
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