Argentine football-related deaths hit 15 this year
Dec. 04, 2014
BUENOS AIRES, Argentina (AP) — The death of defender Franco Nieto — pummeled and stoned by hooligans after a lower-division match — brings the toll to 15 this year in football-related deaths in Argentina.
The non-profit group Salvemos al Football (Let's Save Football) made the announcement on Thursday. The group says at least 14 died in 2013.
The 33-year-old Nieto, who played for the club Tiro Federal, was beaten and bashed with rocks on Saturday, and died on Wednesday.
The referee called off the game against Chacarita when fighting broke out on the field with 15 minutes remaining, and Tiro Federal leading 3-1.
Police in Aimogasta, 1,200 kilometers (750 miles) northwest of Buenos Aires, said Nieto was attacked after the match as he was getting into a car, where his wife and 40-day-old daughter were waiting.
Police said three assailants were involved.
"It's horrible," said Roque Jaime, a top-ranking police official in Aimogasta. "They beat him, kicked him and, after that, hit him in the read with a rock, which was fatal."
Football violence was endemic in Argentina, with clashes in stadiums but more often on the streets around stadiums, where rival hooligan gangs brawl in turf wars.
The Argentine Football Association has been faulted for doing little. It says the violence simply reflects rising crime rates in the country.