[SPORTS★★ – TOXIC SPRAY ATTACK ON SOCCER PLAYERS HALTS GAME IN ARGENTINA]
(P1) Prosecutors are investigating a toxic spray attack on River Plate players as they entered the field for the second half of last night’s Libertadores Cup soccer game at Buenos Aires rival Boca Juniors.
(P2) In CHAOTIC scenes broadcast live in Latin America, River players ripped off their shirts and splashed water into their eyes upon exiting a tunnel at Boca’s Bombonera Stadium. Officials waited more than an hour before canceling the game, after which four River players were taken to a specialist burns treatment center. Initial reports said the substance appeared to be similar to PEPPER SPRAY.
(P3) “I can’t see, I can’t see. I am burning. This is not a war,” River Plate defender Ramiro Funes Mori said in comments broadcast live as police, club officials, and delegates from the regional soccer body responsible for the competition entered the field.
(P4) River was defending a 1-0 victory from the home leg of the round-of-16 match in South America’s ELITE club competition. The two teams share the continent’s biggest RIVALRY, known as the ‘Super Clasico,’ and games have often led to violence on and off the field. The match was without a goal as the River players returned from halftime.
(P5) “The stadium has been closed down to preserve evidence,” Martin Ocampo, Buenos Aires city’s general PROSECUTOR, told the TN television network on Friday. “We requested copies of all the filming done by the club.”
(P6) River coach Marcelo Gallardo called the incident “absolutely SHAMEFUL.”
(P7) River was allowed to progress to the quarterfinals, following a decision by tournament organizers. South American soccer’s regional body Conmebol also began disciplinary proceedings against Boca.
(P8) Soccer violence in Argentina is COMMONPLACE. The government has banned visiting fans from attending games in an effort TO CURB the problem. That decision followed 18 deaths linked to soccer violence in 2013, according to a website run by the Danish Institute of Sports Studies.
(P9) Fan violence though is not isolated to Argentina. Neighboring Brazil is also affected by the problem as are leagues in Europe, including Greece where the championship was suspended in February.
(P10) Even after the game was suspended, River players had to wait on the field until police could protect them from bottles and other objects being thrown by fans when they exited. Smoke bombs could also be seen in the area behind one of the goals.
(P11) “It’s a shame what happened, a world class SCREW-UP,” Boca President Daniel Angelici said in the aftermath. “I want to identify those responsible.”
(P12) In a PRESS CONFERENCE today, Angelici said the substance used doesn’t appear to be pepper spray, but another “toxic liquid” that’s been sent to a lab for identification.
(P13) Much of the violence can be traced to powerful organized fan groups. Members of the groups have been known to INTIMIDATE rivals, and even to attack underperforming players.
(P14) The stadium will remain closed until the investigation is complete.
If you found the passage difficult to read or had problems understanding specific words or idiomatic expressions, please discuss them with your tutor. The following discussion questions should be answered in your own words and with your own arguments.
- Briefly summarize the content of the article in your own words.
- Soccer-related violence is unfortunately common around the world. Has there been any soccer-related violence in your country?
- The River Plate team that was attacked received the equivalent of a win for the canceled game, which allowed them to go into the next round. Do you think this was fair?
- The two teams involved in this incident are major rivals. What are the biggest sports rivalries in your country?
- What is your own favorite team sport? Do you like to play it, or just to watch?
EXPRESSIONS TO PRACTICE:
What do the following expressions mean? Practice using each expression in a sentence; extra points if you can use it in conversation.
- Press conference