Last Sunday was a dark day for Venezuelan football: there were violent clashes between the fans of Portuguesa F.C. and C.D. Lara inside and outside the José Antonio Páez Stadium in the city of Acarigua, leaving one person dead and fifty injured. The game was delayed for half an hour but was eventually completed.
Lara won 4-0.
Twenty-two year old fan Roberto Vidoza was shot and killed by a police officer, who has been arrested and charged. Both clubs have expressed regret for the tragic events but have also pointed fingers at each other. Both the Portuguesa State Police and the National Guard were ill prepared to handle the incidents, which were, surprisingly, shown live on regional TV.
Sadly, Venezuelan football is catching up with its South American counterparts regarding violence in stadiums. The promise of making our football violence-free is now way forgotten. And that’s just one of the many issues with our football league: low attendance, lousy infrastructure, clubs that come and go. Even the TV coverage is terrible.
With all these problems (including the economic crisis), all the progress we have made in recent years could go up in a puff of smoke.