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Argentine security chief slams Copa Libertadores organisers after River-Boca saga

Argentina’s Ministry of Security secretary Sergio Berni slammed the “irresponsibility”, after the farcical suspension of the Copa Libertadores last-16 clash between River Plate and Boca Juniors.

With the second leg of the tie at 0-0 at half-time, the fixture did not get underway after the break with visiting River players alleged to have come under a tear gas attack from Boca fans at the La Bombonera on Thursday.

After more than one hour of deliberations between players and officials, the fixture was suspended – with no decision formalised on if the remainder of the tie will be completed at a later date, with River 1-0 up on aggregate.

Berni slammed the handling of the situation.

“We emptied the stadium, we worked organised. The players stayed on the pitch under my orders, while we were emptying the stadium,” Berni said.

“What I did was, with all the uncertainty that was going on, with the irresponsibility from the organisers that were in charge of deciding on the situation, [evacuate the stadium].

“See, you can’t make the people stay for 45 minutes with that uncertainty.

“I called them and gave them five minutes to make their mind, to decide because they were acting with imprudence, inexperience and negligently.

“So I gave them five minutes to decide what to do. I took charge of the security, they had to be in charge of the sports matter.”

Berni said more stringent security at the gates would not necessarily avoided the incident that saw a premature finish.

“A frisk is a frisk. If you take two hours in order to check 200 people, can you imagine to check 60,000? It’s just a frisk, not a check. Justice should have to investigate, of course,” Berni added.

Romer Osuna, from CONMEBOL, said the delay was due to their hopes for a restart.

“Because we thought that it might be played again. Inquires would be done today. Tomorrow the CONMEBOL court will gather and decide [if the tie will be completed],” Osuna said.

Fri 15 May, 2015
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