A massive brawl disrupted a soccer match on Saturday, with Mexico’s top-division soccer league suspending all matches scheduled for the following day, Sunday, after the chaos.
The brawl broke out at host Queretaro’s game versus Atlas.
At least twenty-six people, were injured, including two seriously, according to ESPN. There are unconfirmed reports circulating that up to 17 people could have died attending the game.
Mexican football match suspended by brawl
The match was suspended at the hour mark in the game.
A few minutes after the hour mark, multiple fights around the stadium broke out in the stands, with images and videos posted to social media showing men ripping the shirts of rival team members from their backs.
In response, security personnel opened the field gates to help fans, including women and children, escape the violence.
Fans lay unresponsive after being beaten in Mexican football brawl
Footage shared online shows bloodied fans — some of them stripped naked — lying unresponsive outside the ground as others continue to kick and punch at them.
After fighting for several minutes in the stands, many moved to the field where they continued punching and kicking others. Some revelers were armed with chairs and metal bars, resulting in severe injuries.
Mexico’s Atlas and Queretaro football players flee in brawl
The Atlas and Queretaro players quickly fled to the locker rooms.
Queretaro’s Uruguayan goalie Washington Aguerre stayed near the bench trying to calm the fans, and get them to stop fighting.
One fan could be seen pulling a knife to cut the nets of one goal. Others destroyed one side’s bench and some fought in the tunnel to the field.
Mexican football fans react to brawl: “I am disgusted”
Football fans responded with disgust when pictures and videos of the fray were shared on social media.
“I’m Mexican and I think Mexico should be disqualified from the Qatar World Cup 2022, and removed from hosting duties in 2026,” Chris CC Lopez said.
“I am disgusted by what happened today at the Querétaro vs Atlas game,” Miah Alexia Zuazua tweeted. “This sport is supposed to bring families and other people together to enjoy the beautiful game.”
“We regret and condemn these events”
In a message posted to its Twitter account, league president Mikel Arriola said the game would not resume Saturday. Those responsible, he said, for the brawl would be punished. “We regret and condemn these events, which run contrary to the spirit of our soccer,” Arriola said in a statement.
Government officials said the owners of the Queretaro club would have to answer for what happened.
“What happened yesterday fills me with pain, with shame and a lot of rage,” Queretaro Governor Mauricio Kuri said Sunday “I have no words strong enough to condemn the violence, the abusiveness and the senselessness of what happened yesterday … “I have given instructions that the law be applied with all of its consequences.”
Not the first time Mexico’s Atlas has seen a brawl
Atlas has also had issues recently with violence among its fans.
Last year, the “classic” with crosstown rival Chivas saw a brawl in the stands. Graphic videos and photos circulated on social networks at the time, showing apparent fans motionless on the ground, in some cases stripped naked and covered with blood as well.
“Unfortunately, what is happening in Queretaro… is happening in my country,” said Rafael Marquez, former captain of the Mexican national team who started his career with Atlas and later became its coach.
It remains unclear whether the suspension, which has affected three matches scheduled for Sunday, will go on for a longer period of time.