Smiling Couple Enjoy Selfie Minutes Before Football Riot That Injured Dozens
A couple in Mexico were fortunate to come out unscathed after an attack at a football stadium left dozens of fans injured.
On Saturday, March 5, at the Corregidora Stadium in Santiago de Querétaro, a riot broke out between rival football fans, during a match between hosts Queretaro FC and Atlas FC from Guadalajara.
Just 15 minutes before the attack, Atlas supporters Beto Valdivia and his wife took a selfie in celebration of their anniversary, the good seats they had in the stadium, and how many families and children they could see.
Little did the pair know what was about to happen next.
No había querido publicar nada sobre lo acontecido el día de ayer, pero no puedo quedarme callado. Esta foto nos la tomamos 15 mins antes de la tragedia, celebrábamos parte de nuestro aniversario y justo en ese momento platicábamos que nos tocó “muy buen lugar”,— Beto Valdivia (@betovaldivia7) March 7, 2022
Explaining that he 'hadn't wanted to post anything about what happened' but couldn't 'keep quiet', Valdivia opened up about the 'tragedy' he and his wife saw unfold at the stadium.
He said: [Translation] 'Behind the benches, without sun and with quiet people, I told my wife: of all the away games that I have lived, it is the one in which I have seen more families and children of @AtlasFC.
'In a matter of minutes everything changed, we noticed fights in different sectors of the stadium without any security personnel who came to separate them!!
'Turning towards the bar de roosters we saw how a mass began to move towards the aisles as they were unable to pass through the seats; at that moment I knew we were already at high risk.'
Despite the game continuing, the rioters 'began to invade the field'.
While players and staff of the stadium were able to 'take refuge in the locker rooms', fans were left exposed in the stands.
Valdivia wrote on Twitter: 'Only two things went through my mind, jump onto the field or seek support from the people of Qro.
'I will never forget the image of seeing all the people from Atlas face to face who were on the field desperately looking for help, young people, women, children and older adults.'
Valdivia and his wife were eventually aided by people from Qro, who 'surrounded' them to help cover their shirts, telling them to take them off, with another man offering his own to Valdivia's wife.
'To these people I can only say infinite THANKS!! They saved our lives,' he said.
On their way to their car, Valdivia said, they saw many 'unconscious' bodies on the ground, and that their road to safety felt 'eternal'.
Un Sr. de la 3era edad y su hijo se pusieron a nuestro lado y dijo “nosotros los sacamos” pidió a su hijo que me diera la sudadera a pesar que el no quería por el mismo miedo de sentirse en riesgo por ayudarnos. A estas personas solo puedo decirles infinitas GRACIAS!!— Beto Valdivia (@betovaldivia7) March 7, 2022
However, just moments away from their car, 'two assassins' approached, in search of rival fans.
According to Valdivia they carried 'indescribable weapons, a kind of tubes surrounded by chains (impossible that they had made them at that time, they already had it prepared); they dragged them on the pavement to make them squeak causing even more terror'.
He concluded: 'I ask that justice be done and that all those involved in this tragedy pay! And I pray for the people who were badly injured and their families who are suffering today, hard to believe that there are not people dead.'
The day after the incident, governor of the state of Querétaro, Mauricio Kuri said 26 people were injured and three in critical condition, but that there were no fatalities, The Guardian reports.
Full investigations are reportedly being carried out by both clubs and Mexican football authorities, per The Mirror.
Gallos general manager Adolfo Rios claimed there was an adequate amount of security members of one to every 25 fans. However, Gallos president Gabriel Solares said the problem 'wasn't the number of personnel, but their positions and how they structured their operation'.
Y ruego por las personas que salieron mal heridas y sus familias que hoy están sufriendo, difícil creer que no haya personas muertas. 😞@LigaBBVAMX @FMF @SEGOB_Queretaro @MafeAlonsoo @hagala_ @Salcedo_Hugo— Beto Valdivia (@betovaldivia7) March 7, 2022
Queretaro and Atlas have both since released statements on the incident and agreed to cooperate with investigations. Queretaro said it 'roundly condemn[s]' the violence which took place and Atlas called on the Liga BBVA MX and the FMF to find those responsible and use 'the full force of the law' against them.
The Mexican Football Federation stated: 'The Mexican Football Federation regrets and condemns the events that occurred this afternoon at Estadio Corregidora in Queretaro, in the match between Queretaro and Atlas. Football must be a space of healthy coexistence where any type of violence is inadmissible. The FMF will monitor and assist in the investigation process with the corresponding instances so that those responsible are sanctioned in an exemplary manner.'
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