Argentinian Soccer Fan Dies After Being Attacked by His Own Club’s Supporters

Lead Photo: Photo by Getty Images
Photo by Getty Images
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In the newest chapter of the long-running story of fan violence in Argentinian soccer, a fan of Club Atlético Belgrano died after being beaten and thrown off of the fan section by his own club’s supporters. Emanuel Balbo was attacked by fans of his own club’s barra brava–the Argentinian version of hooligans–and forced over the railing of their section after being accused of supporting their opponents and local rivals, Talleres de Córdoba.

Police made four arrests in connection to the incident, and on Monday, it was announced that the alleged instigator of the attack, Oscar “Sapito” Gómez, had turned himself in for questioning. He’s facing anywhere from 8 to 25 years in prison on a charge of homicide. Balbo apparently went up to Gómez at the match and accused his fellow Belgrano fan of murdering his brother, at which point Gómez screamed that Balbo is actually a fan of Talleres, inciting the attack that led to his death.

Gómez’s lawyer is arguing that the fight escalated from an argument between his client and the deceased, but that at no point did the accused incite the mob by claiming that Balbo was a supporter of the rival club. He goes on to say that the video evidence shows that Gómez did not strike Balbo, further proving his innocence.

The alarming and disturbing footage of the incident is circulating online, showing Balbo running away from the attackers beating him before he falls to what would be his death. The 22-year-old Balbo fell into a coma following the fall on Saturday, but Belgrano confirmed his passing on Monday.

The Argentinian Football Association (AFA) has spoken out against the violence that led to Balbo’s death, and ensures fans that they will provide security in order to prevent similar situations happening in the future.