Argentinian football just got even more disturbing today during a youth football match in the central city of Cordoba. Midway through the game, an amateur footballer was shown the red card after a series of badly timed tackles. What happened next has become synonymous with South American football over the years.
Enraged by the red card, the Argentinian player fetched a gun from his car and fatally shot the referee on the pitch, according to police. Cesar Flores, a 48-year-old resident of Cordoba, died a few hours later in hospital. His killer fled the scene and was being hunted by police, according to media sources in Cordoba.
He also shot another player, Walter Karate, although Karate is expected to survive.
“It all happened during the match. We don’t know what happened with the referee, but the player was angry and went to get his gun and killed him, said a police spokesperson.”
Violence in Argentina has plagued football games for decades. During an acrimonious game last summer, an angry player punched a referee in the face after being shown a yellow card, knocking him unconscious. Argentinian domestic matches are considered among the most dangerous in the world with hooliganism running rife through the country’s leagues.
Just How Violent Is It In Argentina?
Over 70 people have been killed since 2000, making it one of the most deadly football nations in the world. Football violence in the nation isn’t just about rival fan groups, it’s opposing football gangs attempting to get a stronghold over one another. These gangs run illegal touting schemes, often selling tickets with a face value of $5 for up to $100. They also handle counterfeit club merchandise as well as extortion, demanding cash in exchange for cheering for their own team.
Argentinian fans are no better behaved when they travel abroad. During the 2014 World Cup in Brazil, hooligans threatened to ambush British fans in Belo Horizonte where both teams were staying. Members of the infamous Argentinian Barra Brava groups made alliances with Brazilian gangs to wreak havoc on English supporters. According to Debora Hambo, a lawyer representing the Barras Bravas, she warned that Argentinian fans were preparing revenge for losing the Falklands War.
‘The Argentine people have a good memory and they will never forget nor forgive.”