Lima Soccer Stadium Temporarily Closed After Violence Breaks Out

Authorities in the district of Ate Vitarte closed one of Lima’s main stadiums for 30 days, following a violent confrontation over the weekend between soccer fans, daily La Republica reported.

Supporters of Lima’s Universitario de Deportes soccer club battled with each other over the weekend outside the Monumental Stadium, located in Ate Vitarte on Av. Javier Prado. Security videos showed what appeared to be hundreds of young men fighting on a dusty street outside the stadium, as a few police looked on.

A 19-year-old man was shot in the chest and killed in the incident, which was caught on video and published by local media.

The confrontation was allegedly over the distribution of tickets that the soccer club gives out to Universitario supporters. The Monumental Stadium is the home stadium for the club, known as “la U.” The club will have to play its upcoming games at another stadium, either in the port city of Callao or on the north coast in Trujillo — the National Stadium in downtown Lima, which is an alternate stadium for both Universitario and the Alianza Lima soccer club, is considered to be too expensive.

The mayor of Ate, Oscar Benavides, said the Monumental stadium will be closed until an investigation into the incident is completed and when better security is established.

As in Argentina and now less so in Colombia and Brazil, violence at certain Peruvian soccer games has become common among rival bands of supporters, reminiscent of the British hooligans and egged-on in the 1990s by sports tabloids. The soccer clubs have also encouraged the enthusiasm of “barras bravas” by handing out passes to the games and other perks.

In 2011, a supporter of the Alianza club was killed at the Monumental stadium during a game between the classic rivals Alianza and Universitario. The fan was pushed over a banister by soccer thugs from Universitario, who had attacked Alianza supporters watching the game from box seats.

In March, a court found two men guilty of the murder and sentenced them to 35 years in prison.

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