European football (soccer) fans are known for the passion and support they exemplify when cheering on their teams. While most of the spotlight in the world of football is focused on Europe you can arguably find the most intense football rivalry in Argentina. The Boca Juniors and River Plate are two of the most iconic clubs in Argentina and they both call the capital Buenos Aires home. The Boca Juniors represent the blue collar lower class citizens, while River Plate represents the middle to upper class population in the city. When the two teams meet during the regular league season, games are known for being fierce and crowd violence is to be expected.
The rivalry between them was taken to new heights recently. Both teams managed to make the final of the Copa Libertadores, the equivalent of the Champions League in Europe. This competition pits the best clubs in South America against each other for continental superiority. The second leg of the Copa Libertadores final between River Plate and the Boca Juniors was set to be played at River Plates stadium on November 24th.
This changed when a violent attack on the Boca Juniors team bus by River Plate fans injured several of the rival teams players, ultimately cancelling the second-leg match to decide the champion. When weighing their options regarding the final, a decision was made to move it 6,000 miles across the Atlantic Ocean to the capital of Spain in order to protect the players and ensure a safer final than what was to be expected in Bueno Aires.
While there is nothing wrong with showing pride and passion for the club you support, there are lines that should never be crossed. Opposing teams supporters should not be aiming to harm opposing players and fans. Due to the actions of radical River Plate supporters, the coveted South American competition will see the final relocated to an entirely different continent. River Plate also received a fine due to the violent actions committed by their fans.
Hopefully, this is a teaching lesson for not only the Argentinian clubs, but for all fans in the world of football that behaviour like that exemplified in Buenos Aires will not be tolerated without dire consequences.
Featured image: Boca Junior bus