On September 3rd there was a bomb threat in one of Costa Rica’s domestic league matches. It is sad that one fan had the idea of calling the police to create a bomb threat. While I am no fan of Saprissa, and also hate their stadium, it feels wrong for this to happen in the first place. The last time I went there I made the mistake of wearing my favorite team’s kit to the biggest game in the country.
The bomb threat happened in the 80th minute when Saprissa was leading Grecia 6-1. The game felt finished when the 30th minute came around. This isn’t regular behavior in any Costa Rican stadium.
Saprissa, Liga Deportiva Alajuelense, and Club Sport Herediano have one thing in common: hooligans.
Naturally there are some regulations regarding these fans. La Ultra, Saprissa’s hooligans, cannot enter the stadiums of Alajuelense or Herediano. La Doce, Alajuelense’s hooligans, cannot enter Herediano’s and Saprissa’s home fields. La Garra, Herediano’s hooligans, cannot enter Alajuelense’s or Saprissa’s stadiums.
La Garra once burned the flag of the league champion. The incident happened in a game between Barrio Mexico and Herediano in Guadalupe. In the second half of the game the lights went out, and La Garra used flares to burn the closest flag.
Until recently the use of Bengal Flares was permitted. To combat the effects of the incident, UNAFUT decided to ban them. Now if any fan uses any flare the team is sanctioned with a fine and has to play their home matches at a neutral ground for anywhere between 4-6 games.
Three years ago there was a violent altercation between fans. La Doce went section by section attacking Club Sport Cartagínes’s fans. This isn’t anything new to these fans. The police were around them for the entire game to prevent this kind of violence from happening. La Nación, a Costa Rican newspaper, reported more on this in both Spanish and English.
Correction: UNAFUT, the governing body behind Soccer in Costa Rica has banned all hooligans from coming into the stadium after a fight between La Garra and fans of Cartagínes brawled outside of Estadio Jose Rafael “Fello” Meza Ivanovich. All three major clubs have enacted major reforms, here are Alajuelense’s response, Cartagínes’s response and Herediano’s response. Here is the Official Press Release of UNAFUT, it is regrettable in Spanish.
(feature image is from unafut.com)