Another black eye for Liga MX
Matchday 3 has been lent a somber atmosphere as Liga MX HQ ordered a minute of silence before kick-off at each match in memory of a fan killed outside a game last Sunday.
Maribel Mercado Gallegos, 51, died from injuries she suffered when an SUV plowed through a group of Monterrey fans leaving the Estadio Corona in Torreón, Coahuila.
Five other Rayados fans were injured seriously and several occupants of the vehicle were apprehended. By then, Liga MX officials were ready to spring into action.
Unfortunately, their immediate collective response – grief, empathy and condolences after a “tragic accident” – has come under some scrutiny …. And it is not flattering.
According to “Record” columnist “El Francotirador,” the Liga MX was more concerned about controlling the narrative about fan violence than actually trying to address fan violence.
“The clear message from (Liga MX brass) was that the Federation and all 18 clubs must form a common front to reduce the noise and the criticism related to fan violence that damages the image of Mexican soccer,” wrote “El Francotirador” two days after the tragedy.
The party line was that “the problem is that the media is looking to sell more papers by writing about violence at games.”
The columnist outlined the strategy thusly: “Every time there is an incident, we must all get out in front of it and emphasize that it was happenstance.”
The league’s callous posture looked even more damning as the case advanced and became a homicide investigation.
Reports have emerged describing the suspects in the vehicle as members of a Santos Laguna fan club. The truck made several passes, jeering the Rayados supporters who were lingering in the parking lot awaiting their bus back to Monterrey. The truck then made a final return that ended with a crash into a taxi and the crowd simultaneously.
So, in a goodwill gesture from the ever-compassionate Liga MX HQ, all the Matchday 3 games this weekend will begin with a minute of silence in honor of Maribel Mercado.
Another Mexico City sports daily, Universal Deportes, framed Liga MX efforts to erradicate fan violence as inefficient and poorly enacted.
Last year's roll-out of FanID technology was supposed to heighten security but application of the system has proven to be inconsistent and thus ineffective, wrote Universal Deportes. "Faulty equipment has complicated (stadium access) for fans and security personnel."