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Boca Juniors to admit hooligans against River Plate; Security for match now in question

04/29/2015 12:52 EDT | Updated 08/04/2015 10:59 EDT
BUENOS AIRES, Argentina - A decision by Boca Juniors to allow one of its best-known hooligans to attend Sunday's match against Buenos Aires rival River Plate has prompted a top national government security official to say he will not provide policing for the game at La Bombonera Stadium.

"If Boca continues with this stance of admitting these types of violent fans, I have no reason to provide them with security," national security secretary Sergio Berni said.

Earlier this week Boca raised eyebrows by returning a club membership card to Mauro Martin, one of the leaders of a hooligan gang with ties to the club. He had been barred since 2012 and served a six-month prison sentence.

Reports say another known hooligan Rafael Di Zeo will also have his membership card returned.

"Under these conditions, I am not in agreement with giving them security," Berni told Radio con Vos. He said the only thing heads of football clubs were interested in was "the profits they generate without worrying about security."

Violence — or the threat of violence — is endemic in almost every Argentine soccer match.

The "Superclasico" is one of soccer's most intense showdowns, prone to outbreaks of violence between rival hooligan gangs. The game is particularly charged this time with the two tied for first place.

Boca and River will also play each other after the Superclasico in home and away legs in the quarterfinals of the Copa Libertadores, South America's most important club competition.

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