Police braced for high-risk Medellin derby

BOGOTA - Breathalysers and metal detectors will be used on fans going into the Medellin derby on Wednesday following violence in the stands during last weekend's meeting between the city's bitter rivals.

Fighting broke out between fans of Atletico Nacional and Independiente Medellin in Saturday's "clasico" at the Atanasio Girardot stadium and the referee stopped the match for several minutes as police used tear gas to quell the riot.

Police reported 68 arrests, three people injured and confiscated explosives, knives and marijuana.

The Colombian government's Commission for Comfort, Security and Solidarity in Football also said on Monday there would be an indefinite ban on minors attending matches and fans wearing or carrying team colours in and around the stadium.

The city authorities have also confiscated private food and drinks outlets inside the ground shared by Nacional and Independiente.

Nacional, who won Saturday's derby 3-2 as the away team, are third in the Apertura championship five points behind leaders Once Caldas, after nine matches. Independiente are 10th, 11 points off the pace.

In Colombia, the season is divided into two championships with teams playing each other once in each apart from the so-called "clasicos", most of them city derbies, between arch-rivals that are played twice per tournament and have caused problems for authorities.


A column in leading daily El Tiempo criticising authorities for their inaction recalled that a coffin was taken the previous weekend into the stadium at Cucuta, reportedly containing a dead teenage fan shot the day before so he could "see" his last match.

"There was supposedly a dead person inside. It could have been drugs, a knife, a pistol. Everyone blamed the police. Cucuta's directors, like selling the sofa on discovering someone has been unfaithful, decided (only) to close the south stand at the stadium," it said.

It added that at another stadium, a fan entered with a knife in his belt. "Didn't anyone body-search him?"

A fan was stabbed twice at the Cali derby, another of the leading "clasicos" in which Deportivo Cali came from two goals down to beat America 3-2, and had surgery on Sunday.