Brazilian police release Boca Juniors squad after stadium brawl
Posted On July 21, 2021
Argentina’s Boca Juniors players return home after spending the night on a bus outside a police station in the Brazilian city of Belo Horizonte
Through MAURICIO SAVARESE and DIANE JEANTET Associated Press
July 21, 2021, 4:25 PM
• 2 minutes to read
RIO DE JANEIRO – Argentina’s Boca Juniors spent the night on a bus outside a Brazilian police station before being allowed to leave on Wednesday following a scuffle with security following their loss on penalties in the Copa Libertadores against local Atletico Mineiro.
Police in the city of Belo Horizonte said they had questioned six members of the Argentine delegation, two of whom were fined 3,000 reals ($ 575) each for damages. The other four have been charged with bodily harm and contempt and are expected to appear in court at a later date.
Police did not release the names of those fined and charged.
The fight erupted as the Boca Juniors players returned to the locker room after Tuesday night’s game. Video footage showed members of the team throwing punches and portable railings at security personnel. The team were apparently furious with a goal that was disallowed by an out-of-game video appeal.
The Brazilian club said on Twitter that players from Boca also tried to break into their locker rooms and destroyed water fountains and guardrails.
The Boca delegation was due to return to Argentina the same night, the online news site G1 reported, but the team’s bus was taken to the police station instead.
The bus was eventually cleared out of the police station around noon local time.
On Tuesday, Atletico Mineiro said its president, Sérgio Coelho, had negotiated with security forces to have Boca players testify to police about the incident without risking arrest.
The mayor of Santiago, spokesperson for the Belo Horizonte military police, told Argentinian channel TyC Sports that three Boca Juniors players had been identified as attacking security personnel, although he did not identify them.
Juan Román Riquelme, vice-president of Boca, complained to the same channel that security guards did not allow players to return to the locker rooms.
Both round-of-16 matches ended in a goalless scoreline, but Atletico Mineiro won 3-1 on penalties on Tuesday night to qualify. Boca Juniors players and managers were furious that a goal was canceled after a video review.
Atletico Mineiro will face one of Argentina’s two clubs in the next stage. River Plate and Argentinos Juniors drew 0-0 last week.
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