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Problems in Uruguay

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Tim Vickery | 10:45 UK time, Monday, 1 December 2008

Until his death in the late 80s Brazilian TV had a wonderful presenter called Chacrinha, who conducted an anarchic programme wearing carnival clothes, carrying a giant horn and yelling out nonsense slogans. "Who wants cod?" he would shout as he hurled fish into the audience.

One of his favourite slogans was "I come to confuse, and not to explain." South America often makes me think of it. It is a continent where human intelligence is frequently used to complicate matters, and not to simplify. And unlike Chacrinha's programme, the results are not hilarious, just frustrating.

Chacrinha's Law (my name for the process where supposedly clever people defend absurd positions) is alive and well in Uruguay.

For the past two weekends the Uruguayan first division has been suspended. This follows a battle which took place on the pitch between fans of Danubio and Nacional after their game had finished.

Football violence is a problem all over South America. Just in the last few days there have been more deaths in Argentina, riots in Bolivia, crowd problems in Ecuador as well as the fighting in Uruguay.

Part of the problem is a lack of money. Funds are not available for improving stadium and transport infra-structure.

But there is also an issue over the will to tackle the problem. In many cases it seems that the organised groups of thugs have ties to club administrations - they receive free tickets, the players are expected to help with their travel costs, and so on.

After the suspension in Uruguay was announced, Gus Poyet gave an interview to the local press which made clear his frustration with the state of affairs in the land of his birth. He had taken home all the documents he could find about the English experience in countering football violence - and no one was interested.

"I took everything about the hooligans," he said. "England was an example in controlling the worst of football. But in Uruguay it seems that it can't be done, because the prisons are full or because someone is receiving protection."

In this case, happily, the two clubs concerned appear to be putting on a common front. Danubio and Nacional are condemning the violence, rather than protecting their own supporters. And with the local FA talking to the political authorities about the security question, a restart is looking more likely.

But another obstacle has arisen to the successful completion of the championship, which has four rounds to go.

At the end of August, with the season in its early stages, Nacional were set to play Villa Espanola. The Nacional players took the field a minute after the scheduled kick off time - to find that the referee had already abandoned the game on the grounds that they were absent.

There was nothing particularly unusual about Nacional's tardiness. Timekeeping in South America can be lax - matches get underway a few minutes late, and half times can stretch on for much longer than the usual 15 minutes. There are 17 laws of football, but in this case the referee had clearly forgotten the law of common sense.

The game was awarded 2-0 to Villa Espanola, but Nacional appealed, and last week, by a 3-2 margin, the Uruguayan FA's justice council ordered the game to be replayed.
Villa Espanola will go along with the judgement, but it has proved too much for Penarol, Nacional's great rivals, to stomach. In protest at the decision, Penarol called on the executive council of the Uruguayan FA to resign en masse, and went as far as to threaten to disaffiliate from the FA.

Penarol fans attend their team's match against Nacional

Even at a delicate moment such as the present one, with football suspended as a result of security concerns, the idea of the common good seems to have gone out of the window. And meanwhile, Uruguayan football gets left further behind.

Uruguayan clubs were once among the strongest in the Copa Libertadores, South America's Champions League. But the last time they won the cup was 1988 - not since the following year has a club from Uruguay even reached the semi finals.

Such a decline should be concentrating minds - instead heads seem full with petty quarrels. It is Chacrinha's Law in action. Perhaps in future disputes, those wanting to confuse rather than explain should be ordered to wear Chacrinha costumes, with massive hats, gaudy suits and a horn, and throw cod into the auditorium as they make their case.

Comments on this piece in the space provided. Other questions on South American football to, and I'll pick out a couple for next week.
From last week's postbag;

Q. Just got my hands on the newest edition of the Football Manager game series and they rate a number of young Brazilian players very highly (with better attributes than most Premier League players!) such as Wagner and Guilheme of Cruzeiro, Alan Kardec and Alex Teixeira from Vasco and Lulinha from Corinthians etc.
Kris Murphy

A. It's always going to be a tough and arbitrary job giving ratings to players - especially those in development, but there are times when you wonder... Alan Kardec of Vasco - tall striker, but nothing special yet, and maybe never. His clubmate Alex Teixeira is more interesting, but still in the 'promise' class. The Cruzeiro pair are realities - Guilherme looks a terrific player, lots of quality, exceptional vision. His space is going to be squeezed when he moves to Europe, will be interesting to see how he copes.

Wagner has a nice left foot, good player but hasn't yet fulfilled the hopes I had for him. Unlike the others you mention, he's not a kid - 24 in January. He was in Dunga's first Brazil squad over two years ago but hasn't really come on - made a strange move to Arab football for a while.

Lulinha is another case of being hyped too much too soon. He had a fantastic time last year in the South American Under-17 Championships. Everything he hit flew in. Then he was linked with Chelsea and pitched into Corinthians' unsuccessful battle against relegation, and it was all too early. He hasn't had a great year even though the team comfortably won promotion, and he hasn't been included in Brazil's Under-20 squad for the South American Championships. Next year is a big one.


  • Comment number 1.

    Another Insightful Article as always Timbo?!

    it does seem that quite a lot of South America do have a problem with football violence, almost every match i watch there is some kind of crowd disturbance, but seem to turn a blind eye to this, i find it quite astonishing really in this day and age where they are trying to improve the image of the game off the pitch(fans-wise) all the time.

    for me i feel maybe a ban needs to installed on the fans, or, behind closed doors matches etc.
    or i fear this problem could begin to slowly ruin the game over time.

    i noticed the violence even at world cup level, i mean us english were banned from european competitions for years because of how violent we apparently were, i mean dont get me wrong it was real bad at its height and theres no denying that, but, i believe that to this day there are worse nations for hooliganism than the english people ever were, Italy, Turkey, Argentina, but to name a few.

  • Comment number 2.

    I have to echo the closing comment of post no.1, Samwell2804. Violence abroad seems to be tolerated by the authorities, and encouraged by the clubs. Ever heard the tale of Italian hooligans who somehow "smuggled" a moped into the top tier of a big stadium, set it on fire and pushed onto the tier below? Tell me that could ever happen in the UK! We were rightly banned in the Eighties, about time world football saw our example and took action themselves.

  • Comment number 3.

    2 comments, tutt tutt. I guess people just don't care as long as the EPL is alright. :laugh:

  • Comment number 4.

    great blog. keep up the good work!

  • Comment number 5.

    as always an interesting post

    Just a quick thought and dont know if you have an opinion on it but whilst numbers of female attendees is increasing a little in Brazil its still isolated and i dont think the fact that most stadia in South America retain the pack mentality of UK stadia up til the 90s helps. Naturally when we have Club Presidents blaming the decisions of female officiails on the menstruation cycle, and limited investment in the women's game here im doubtful things are going to chage rapidly. A pity because in general most men, not just in South America tend to behave a little better when they are with their daughters or wives.
    PS - when are you going to come down to see Avai - you'll always be welcome here in Floripa!!!

  • Comment number 6.

    to no.3, i liked the article, but did not want to comment as I was sponging info not necessarily spouting "answers".
    Points deduction is the best IMO, cheap, easy to implement and affects/motivates fans personally.

  • Comment number 7.

    Hi Tim, just two brief questions-

    Do you feel that a significant factor towards the crowd problems in Uruguay could be the fact that almost all of the Primera Division clubs are based in the same city (Montevideo)?

    Also, do Chacrinha’s antics with the cod have any bearing to Vasco’s nickname ‘Bacalhau’ which also means cod? I have been puzzled as to why Vasco are given this name for quite some time.

    Could you finally put me out of my cod dam misery!! ;)

  • Comment number 8.

    good article as always Tim!
    here in Cyprus we have a ridiculously high percentage of hooligans compared with normal decent people at grounds... even at lower league matches! it's incredible how such a peace loving, non-violent society can produce such a disproportionately high level of hooligans, but that they do! Our chiefs of police make regular trips to the UK, to keep up with english and scottish crowd control techniques.
    who knows soon it may be safe again to start watching Pafos v Pegiea!

  • Comment number 9.

    Apologies if my previous post reads incorrectly, the apostrophes came out as question marks for some reason.

    Post Number 5- Is Floripa affected by the recent flooding in Santa Catarina? I follow Internacional, who I know have been sending food to the area.

  • Comment number 10.

    Vasco is a club of the Portuguese community - cod is part of their cuisine.

    It's quite expensive in Brazil - I'm no expert, but I believe it's a cold water fish that has to be imported.

    The fact that almost the entire Uruguayan first division is based in Montevideo is indeed significant - you're playing a local derby every week.

    It's also not unusual in South America - much of the Argentine first division is in or around Buenos Aires - liewise Paraguay with Asuncion. Chile and Peru are less centralised, but thr traditional teams are all in Santaigo and Lima respectively.

  • Comment number 11.

    Hi Tim,

    Very interesting article as usual. I dont know if this question has been answered before, but do you happen to know how much attention European clubs give to young up and coming South Americans in terms of scouting etc as opposed to scouting the rest of the world?

    Cheers :-)

  • Comment number 12.

    I wonder whether hooliganism and football are inextricably linked - it is a very complex issue. The Derby nature of eachgame probably does not help. However, take a look at the "gun-toting USA" - in the Times last week (or so) article commented on the remarkable absence of the hooligan element in their NFL and major league baseball, irrespective of the local derby issue.

  • Comment number 13.

    Hi Tim,

    Great column again, i really like to read your insights into South American football.

    A quick question. Why did Fernando Cavenaghi never make it quite as big as everyone hoped. Was he another player that moved to European football to soon ? He played plenty of youth games for Argentina, and then i heard nothing about U21 caps, and I understand he has recently played a few games for the senior team - how come his biggest club teams have been Spartak Moscow and Bordeaux. Could you see a move to a big Champions League club in the pipeline ?

  • Comment number 14.

    Hey Tim

    In reponse to the question the guy asked you at the end of your blog reguarding Guilheme.

    I have been a massive fan of him since i bought him on fifa08 and he was awesome i know its a game, but i have since watched alot more brazilian football and always look out for him! Some of his goals on You tube Also you can see he has talent! anyway my question is have you heard anything about him coming over to europe?

    Also have you heard anything about Arsenal Signing this 14yr old Brazilian Conte??



  • Comment number 15.

    great blog as always, devoted follwer of vickery united!

    i might (no must) be wrong, but i was under the impression that the south american representative in the world club championship this year was from ecuador.

    i was just wondering who they were and what style of game they play?

  • Comment number 16.

    Tim, whats happened to Kerlon? Some people say he was bought by Inter and then loaned out. Is this true or did Chievo actually buy him? And why does he not play often fir Chievo?

  • Comment number 17.

    I am planning to move to Uruguay shortly and had been looking forward to live football. Maybe not quite so much now!

    It's strange that this problem is so universal. Whilst in Europe we lump all Latin American countries together, it is quite clear that they are very different. In particular Uruguay is a totally different proposition culturally, economically and socially from it's neighbours so why does it share this problem? For what it's worth I wonder if the media coverage is part of the problem. Watching live rioting on TV at matches in Argentina for example I couldn't help wondering if that was an exciting inducement for some people to get involved. It is also, I am sure, a challenge. If they did that last week, we can do better this week!

  • Comment number 18.

    great blog!

    anyway, im a new zealander living in brasil for a year and i have been to several São Paulo games (being a São Paulino) including the game vs Flu (67,000 people). I havnt witnessed any violence in or around the stadiumat any of the games. The problem in and around the stadium seems quite well controlled with away fans given police escort etc and kept well seperate in the stadium. Seeing how São Paulo are quite a rich brasilian club could that explain the better control?

    it is very hard to implement fair ways to combat hooliganism here. fair ways mean that every club will be disadvantaged somewhat and are bound to disagree and also you have officials in the FA etc with private motives. How about a create a section for anti hooliganism that pays money to clubs for them to use in anti hooliganism methods... a report of how the money was used is posted back to the section. if the methods are ineffective or money incorrectly spent... points deduction. simple as that. club isnt disadvantaged unless it doesnt solve the problem properly and therefore creates its own problems!

  • Comment number 19.

    Gunner-zp, Kerlon has had a couple of major injuries over the past 2 years, notably his knee. He may well be still a little way short of full match fitness. There is also the possibility he is struggling to adapt to life in Italy. The Serie A is quite a step up from South American football, the defenders are a lot more organised and Kerlon will not be allowed time and space to unfurl his tricks and such. He will also find it more difficult to milk free-kicks to get out of a tight situation, so it could be that he is being eased in gently so he can adapt his game to suit.

    In reference to the article, it is significant that a lot of clubs in the same league are close together, in Montevideo and Buenos Aires especially. In Argentina, there are the so called big 5, River, Boca, Racing, Independiente and San Lorenzo, so any game between them is a derby. Then there are other derbies involving one of the clubs, San Lorenzo - Huracan, for example, was moved to La Bombonera, the stadium of Boca, because it is supposedly safer.

    The stadia themselves are not exactly designed for safety like a lot of the newer Premier League stadia. Out of the aforementioned Argentine big 5, the most modern of all their stadia was renovated in 1978 for the World Cup, and that was El Monumental, River´s home. Independiente are building a new stadium, their old one was shut down after new safety laws came into effect after the Cromagnon disaster, but meanwhile, they play their home games in the stadium of eternal rivals Racing. I can only imagine the situation being similar in Uruguay, having never been across the river so to speak.

    I´ve been to games in El Monumental, La Bombonera and Racing´s Presidente Perón, and while none felt like approaching an EPL stadium, I didn´t feel unduly peturbed, even as a foreigner in the poor southern partido of Avellaneda. By and large, the fans will share some form of banter outside the stadium, I wouldn´t go as far as to call it friendly banter, but there´s no desire for violence from most.

    Inside the stadium is another matter, each set of fans chant about killing the other set and their club, and this is a source of consternation among the footballing and political elites. They tried to ban this, but people ignored it, so it was worthless. A large proportion of the violence, at least in Argentina, is between different barra bravas of the same team, in the news this week was 3 serious injuries from a fight between different supporters groups of Belgrano de Córdoba, and River Plate´s fans have been pretty much at war with themselves for a long time now.

    Generally speaking for people going to games, it is safe if you take reasonable precautions like not wearing the chunky gold watch or carrying something that looks like a weapon. People tend not to get dragged indiscriminately into fights, the violence happens between the barra bravas, the hooligan groups.

  • Comment number 20.

    I was at the match (riot) in Cochabamba Bolivia between the 2 local sides Aurora and Wilsterman. The Aurora player was sent off for no one knows what. He threw the head and refused to leave the field. After a few minutes of this the ref called over the riot police to remove him. About 10 of these police struggled to remove the player (a big lad in fairness and in no humour to go anywhere). So one of them sprays him with mace. The other Aurora players see this and run to battle the riot police. The Aurora goalkeeper goes mental with punches and drop kicks and then uproots the corner flag and attacks the police with it. After about 20 mins the game resumes with a freekick and a minute later the final whistle blows and everyone goes home. After 2 years in South America my only surprise is that there is not much more violence on the streets and on the pitch. The police are untrained, 19 year olds, paid peanuts and recieve zero respect from anyone - thats leaving aside the elephant in the room which is corruption. This feeds directly into football - there is little or no law so why should you obey anyone in anything. I admire Bolivians for their restraint - if the people of any european country had so little to deter them from violence we would go mental on a daily basis and anarchy would ensue.

  • Comment number 21.

    for-evra-and-evra-amen the team from Ecuador in the world club championship is LDU Quito. While they are not as tecnical as Man Utd I believe they will still end up winning it for one simple reason. Man Utd and the other European teams do not take this competition with contempt. Teams from Europe like Man Utd, Liverpool, Madrid etc etc keep saying thay they are the best in the world but when it comes to world club championship their record is dismal. Now this does not necessarily mean that the South American teams are better, as we simply don't know until the European teams start trying.

  • Comment number 22.

    A week before this happened The 1913 club or so called CA Penarol's fan were caught on video stabbing themselves in the middle of a match. They have killed a C.A> Cerro fan last year that was waiting for a bus with his family and a bunch of about 11 1913's club (Penarol) kill them on the spot, with no reason and they almost killed the son as well, 11 year old boy that was shocked for life. Between those fans, there was a Psicology professor of a private school... there you go, understand who is teaching the Uruguayan kids, what societly is accepting and celebrating at the field, at the school and at home. Patetic. Nothing was done then, but now with the oldest team in uruguay (Nacional) and this riot against Danubio's fan (they were 15 years old boys, not the really heavy guys) nobody was seriously hurt, but then, the tournament was stopped. This is the doing of Paco Casal, the owner of the 1913 club, that gives money and drugs to the Penadoy fans, pay referees (see the case of the cancelled game Nacional vs Villa Espanola) that is to be played, when this guy has orchestrated that. He also has destroyed the football in uruguay, since he is the owner of the 95% of the playes, and so the money that goes into the clubs.

  • Comment number 23.

    The over officious ref.. wasn't Senor Howardo Webbo was it??

  • Comment number 24.

    Tim Vickery's column is some of the best football writing around. Great work Tim! Thanks!

  • Comment number 25.

    Another good article Tim, and this time its a serious issue that is both frustrating and infuriating! Football is a joy that unites people, but these bravas look for trouble. You have to admire their order, but we wish they'd use it to more useful things and not violence. They relate themselves almost religiously to clubs, but football is not their passion, its the power and status they get from being part of a brava, like the thugs of the club. Fighting in the stadium is an issue, but a solution is possible. How about shootings outside the field between fans because "they entered out territiry" or "wore the wrong colour in our barrio"...its crazy really.

    And for those who know up-coming South American talents through video games, fair enough. But we'd appreciate if more of you actually follow our leagues like we follow all of yours (even Italy's Serie B!!!). The names might be small and unfamiliar, but this is football, and talent is what counts! You won't regret it

  • Comment number 26.

    Vickery, I always read your articles with great interest and am yet to be disappointed.

    Not an issue I particularly concern myself with, which makes it all the more enjoyable.

    However, violence is an issue all football fans must concern themselves with. It has serious implications for the game and will continue to harm the sport as long as it continues.

    The lack of funds limits The Uruguay FA's options to combat this issue. Those who have the resources to promote violence prevention must act.

    As for the Football Manager query; pretty ridiculous question, really. Remember when it comes down to it, it's just a game. I refer to FM 2000 and 2001 days; anyone heard of Cherno Samba or Tonton Zola Moukokou lately?

  • Comment number 27.

    The stadia themselves are not exactly designed for safety like a lot of the newer Premier League stadia. Out of the aforementioned Argentine big 5, the most modern of all their stadia was renovated in 1978 for the World Cup, and that was El Monumental, River?s home. Independiente are building a new stadium, their old one was shut down after new safety laws came into effect after the Cromagnon disaster, but meanwhile, they play their home games in the stadium of eternal rivals Racing. I can only imagine the situation being similar in Uruguay, having never been across the river so to speak.


    Actually the Bombonera Stadium has been modified quite a bit since 1978, the whole stand where the boxes and preferential seats are just over a decade old and it has had some minor re-adjustments these years....also I'm not sure where you got the information about a whole new stadium being built because of what happened at Cromagnon, if you could give me a link to where you saw this information i ll be happy to read it and shut up :)

    By the way Tim great blog, as an Argentine living in the UK I always look forward to reading it and it shows to people here just how different football is in South America.

  • Comment number 28.

    Hi Tim. I have always been interested in your writings about world and especially South American football. Over two years ago when I was in Bogota,Colombia I was watching Millionarios vs Pereira in el campin stadium. You have probably mentioned this before in a previous article or in something you have written in your many years in South America.

    However I noticed something very strange in the way the fans of Millionarios sat and sung, it seemed to me they were seated in economic order. The fans with the cheapest tickets seemed to form the ultras and sung constantly and most loudly.

    What struck me was unlike most clubs in Britian where all the fans sing the same song at the same time. In the Millionarios they didnt sing together. They sung different songs at different times.Something you would never see in a ground such as Celtic Park. In fact they seemed take pride in this seperation. A friend of mine who I went with, said to me that it was not wise to go the cheapest ticket section because they do not like outsiders in their section.

    The main issue that shocked me during that game was the level of racism I witnessed in that ground. Even though Colombian is a multi-racial country it seems that the old colonial cast system seems to still be in force. The young mulatto or black Millionarios keeper who played that game was abused racially hundreds of times by his own fans and this obviously did not help his confidence.

    Have you also noticed the high level of racist comments and abuse players face in South America? especially if they happen to be of black descent.

  • Comment number 29.

    Great blog again Tim - fascinating insight into the culture and football of a once-great soccer nation.

    The Uruguayan teams used to have a reputation for being, well, big dirty hackers. Is this still true in their league? And Tim, who do you rate as being the best prospect in Uruguay at the moment?

    Columbian taxpayer, I would point out that your comment on there not being disparate singing at British grounds is innaccurate nowadays. There seems to be an element of fans separating themselves into different groups that prefer to sing and play musical instruments while other sections prefer to stand and others just watch the match.

    You also mention Celtic Park (Parkhead) in particular, yet just a few weeks ago one corner of the Celtic support was roundly jeered by other Celtic fans for the songs they chose to sing. In fact, this separation is evident across Scotland now with Rangers having the Blue Order singing section; Aberdeen with their Red Ultras etc etc... Not sure about England, though.

  • Comment number 30.

    "Also, do Chacrinha?s antics with the cod have any bearing to Vasco?s nickname ?Bacalhau? which also means cod? I have been puzzled as to why Vasco are given this name for quite some time."

    Vasco is nicknamed Bacalhau (usually in an offensive sense by the opposition fans) because they were founded by and still are very identified with the Portuguese colony of Rio de Janeiro, and Portugal is known for having Cod as a very important part of their cuisine.

    "anyway my question is have you heard anything about him coming over to europe?"

    Cruzeiro's president, Zeze Perrella, has said recently he has been negotiating Guilherme's sale to Real Madrid.

    Though it should be said Perrella lies a lot.

  • Comment number 31.

    Tim problems not only confined to Uruguay,Iasked you on Saturday's World football phone in on BBC Radio 5 live about crowd trouble in Argentina in recent weeks resulting in 6 deaths.The podcast is now availabe listen to Tim's response , summary is lack of investment in football and hooligan element are organized and even have their tentacles in football clubs, Free tickets and travel for Bravos clubs seem powerless to stop it. Argentina will host 2011 Copa America oldest inter country tournament. Then Brazil host 2014 World Cup hope this does not affect them. The English Disease has spread all over the world it has worringly racist and far right influences especially in Eastern Europe.
    One place free of football crowd violence in S.America is Chile where U20 Women's World cup is being held we were knocked out by USA catch matches on Eurosport or FIFA web site .

  • Comment number 32.

    Football manager seems to be used by a few actual managers...the stats are not in most circumstances translate to actual performance in the 'virtual' football field.

    Anyways to my question for Tim: Does he know much about Gustavo Cabral?

    Cheers and love your work on WSD, TWG, BBC and for World Soccer.

  • Comment number 33.

    *apologies for not re-reading before posting

    '..the player stats does always translate to actual performance in the 'virtual' football field.'

  • Comment number 34.

    If I remember correctly our Govt (UK), didn't take any meaningful action against football violence until we started exporting it to other countries and tearing up their towns and cities on a regular basis. The demographics and geography in South America don't really facilitate groups of lads going 'on tour' (with a few exceptions). Politicians and the Administrators condemn the violence but because most of it seems to be strictly in-house, ie the victim on one day could well be the perpetrator on another their condemnations lack supporting actions.

  • Comment number 35.

    It is well known that Barras Bravas in South America have strong connections to football clubs, thus making it almost impossible to get rid of them. To make matters worst, fighting doesn't just occur between barras bravas of different clubs but even from the same one. River Plate from Argentina is one clear example.

    The relationship between these organized groups and the police is also a reason why there is so much violence in and around footbal stadiums in this continent.

  • Comment number 36.

    Celesteyblanco: You are right about La Bombonera, that stand has been modified a lot recently, excuse my ignorance in forgetting it! Having said that, the other three stands are still from the 50´s I believe, the only modification that springs to mind is the new scoreboard.

    As for El Rojo, the point there was that after the Cromagnon disaster, the officials couldn´t let so much go as before with regards to safety, they couldn´t turn a blind eye as much as in previous years. Also, there were new laws limiting capacities in all venues, I believe there has to be a square metre for every person in a standing area, for example, among others. Many stadia have had their capacities reduced through safety in recent years, La Bombonera itself used to hold about 66,000 and now takes around 55,000, the same applies at Racing, for example.

    Whether the tipping point with Independiente was that it became commercially unviable with reduced capacity, or whether they were given the nod that something was wrong, I don´t know. But to me, there´s no doubt that it was a big factor in their decision, as well as the money they got from selling a few players to Europe at a similar time. Interestingly, if you do a google search for cancha de Independiente + Cromagnon, you´ll get a list of articles saying there´s a risk of a disaster in the new stadium if things are not changed.

    Ihuy01: Cabral is one of those centre backs that´s really good on Football Manager 07, and pretty cheap too. Well, he´s at River now, who aren´t having a good time of it, but no big clangers spring to mind on his part. He is mainly as the game suggests, solid, but unspectactular, strong in the tackle like many Argentine defenders, my only doubt about him is physically. He is not exactly tall for a centre back by European standards, I think he´s 1m 82, and while that´s sufficient in South America, I think he´d be found out a bit if he moved across the water, especially in England, Germany or Italy. He´s got a good defensive mind though, tracks well, brave and is generally in the right positions.

  • Comment number 37.

    Hooligans with affliations to the club are the big problem. I think it was easier to stamp out in England because there was a majority of non-violent supporters at most matches, so the clubs could sort out the problem without crippling revenues.

    The kind of skinhead neo-Nazi fools that make up about 95% of our local teams support here in Poland are called the 'lifeblood' of the club. Unfortunately, they are the kind of people who make monkey noises at black players and collect cash in buckets at half time from the crowd for weapon purchases, flares and printing things promoting future fights with other clubs - such as stickers that get on every bus and lamppost around the city.

    Needless to say, normal fas like me, after a decent game of football try it a couple of times then walk away in disgust.

    How do you remove the majority? It seems impossible and I'm afaid that Euro 2012 here is going to be an embarrassment if the locals representing the beautiful game are racist aggressors.

  • Comment number 38.

    Good to see something on Uruguay on here - the forgotten champions. Sadly not much to write home about at the moment.

    Someone asked whether the referee was: not Howard Webbo, but (you couldn't make this up) Liber PRUDENTE. What an utter tool - a full stadium on a nice sunny sunday afternoon and he ruins everyone's weekend by calling the football off because the team was one minute late.

    Another post mentioned how Uruguay is different to most South American countries, and they're right - it is an extremely decomcratic / consultative country by Latin standards (mainly as a rejection of past military experiences), which tends to means it is a lot more culturally & socially stable.

    But it's greatest strength can also be it's weakness. As one other poster mentioned, common sense seems to get bypassed as long as rule books are stuck to, committees are consulted, legislation is upheld to the letter, etc. Take the example of the match called off by Prudente, which is now going to be replayed tomorrow. Who have they fixed as referee? Prudente of course. "Well, he was supposed to be ref first time round, so it is only right and proper that he should officiate this time..."

    He is going to get the booing of a lifetime.

  • Comment number 39.

    Yes another great article.
    I can say from first hand experience that games in Argentina and elsewhere are TRULY FRIGHTENING experinces having been to Boca/River, Boca/Independiente to name a few.
    Celtic/Rangers, Villa/Blues are walks in the park compared to Boca against the Chickens ;-) I thought there was going to be a coup so many Police were out.

  • Comment number 40.

    Whilst I appreciate Argentine games are hot - I wouldn't call an Old Firm game a 'walk in the park' or lump it in with the less passionate English derbies.

  • Comment number 41.

    Things have changed. In 1980 I took my visiting cousin to the Centenario stadium to watch a derby Penarol and Nacional. We took the bus, got off, bought tickets in the cheapest stands, and watch the whole game sitting down.

    Society's respect and morals are gone. I disagree with people who say that it is because of lack of money. It is because of lack of values. The governments of the last 25 years have been extremely permissive and 'understanding' 'justifying' crime. It is hilarious to hear the analysis done by the so called experts. Sad to hear that 75 year old women are being robbed in daylight in middle class neighborhoods. Sad to see a government turn their head away. Sad to see people getting used to it.

  • Comment number 42.

    They seem to have some problems in Uruguay...What is the going for changes.

  • Comment number 43.

    Although Uruguay is one of the countries in Latin America with the lowest incidence of violence, this does not extend to football, where passions run very deep at all social levels. I am a fan of Peñarol, the oldest and most popular club in Uruguay (dalebolso1899's comments notwithstanding), but I actually disagree with some of the chants from the crowd which glorify the killing of opposing fans. (In fact, even people who are against violence get caught up in this and regularly sing these songs in Uruguay). I'm not sure what the reasons for this may be, but I suspect it is intrinsically linked to the specific idiosyncrasy of the people in that country. To be honest, even I am guilty of this, as the only reason why I finally signed up to make a comment was to counter the nonsense written by dalebolsolearntospeakenglishiknowyoucan. So, on that note, vamo arriba Peñarol, five-times South American champions, three-times world champions, 47 times Uruguayan champions and the greatest fans ever known to human kind. (See picture in article for more). Oh, and Tim, love the articles. Your work is truly off the hook. Peñarol Peñarol.

  • Comment number 44.

    I was brought up in Paraguay and spent my childhood going to watch Olimpia, including the 1989 Libertadores final against Atletico Nacional. Although crowds were boisterous they were amicable and violence was unheard of even between the fans from rival teams. I returned recently and went to watch Olimpia - Universidad Catolica in the Copa Sudamericana and it was unpleasant, even scary. The Olimpia fans were holding running battles among themselves causing people with children to flee from the stampede and the only exit was up at the end where they were fighting.

  • Comment number 45.

    Colorado_matt - post 9

    we've been very lucky here on the island and good man for sending some aid. Florianopolis on a whole got off lightly - not that we didnt have loss of life but if you saw the images from closer to blumenau etc you'll know how much worse it was there. Things now seem to have reached the political in-fighting over release of money to help those left homeless etc.
    Good choice in Internationale - Gremio should have been expelled from all competitions for life - not just for the arrogance and lack of wit of their fans but for allowing players to physically attack referees 3 years ago in the playoffs. Avai will give you 6 points next year so dont worry!

  • Comment number 46.


    We may be arrogant and lacking in wit but at least we can spell the name of our team correctly!

    Internacional should be expelled from all competitions for life simply because they are so dreadfully dull.

    Seriously though, I'm moving permanently to PoA next month (after five previous trips) and hope to spend a couple of weeks in Armacao in February. I wouldn't mind taking in a game at Avai whilst I'm there as I've got a real soft spot for them. Like the name and the fact they play in BLUE! I hope they survive next season - no, I hope they qualify for the Libertadores!

    Anyway, fancy meeting up for a beer and maybe even a discussion on the Battle of Aflitos!!

    All the best!

  • Comment number 47.

    timlucas35 again

    Sorry, mate, forgot to mention I'm from Sheffield and a Wednesday fan!

    Now you see why I can't support Inter??!!

  • Comment number 48.

    Hi Tim, hope life is treating you well by the Larangeiras hood.
    Kudos -this is one great article and the Chacrina analogy is perfect.
    Perhaps you could elaborate some more and enlighten the readers on what Francisco Casal has been doing (the alledged money laundering operations, the cocaine scandal with the national team at the Norway friendly, the tax evasion case). Or dig in some more and tell us about Villa Españolas' "supporters" getting into the club's facilities to assault their own players for trying to actually get paid.
    Uruguayan football is certainly fascinating -such a horrible domestic league with such incredible problems, and they sell masses of players abroad and at a top prize too.
    All the best for you, a gente se fala cara.


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