Monday, August 22, 2011

Will Gang Violence Become a Bigger Disruption to Mexico's First Division?

Video Above:  Mayhem with fans begins around the 2-minute mark.

Around the world, the Mexican First Division is respected as a talented league with tough competition from top to bottom.  Soccer is Mexico's pasttime.  Kicking Soccer balls is practiced from inside the bellies through puberty and adolescence for much of the country.  Mexico loves its Soccer and takes great pride in its League.

What happened this past weekend at a game between Santos Laguna and Morelia  in Torreon was an anomaly inside the daily tragedy of Cartel-related violence that has ripped the country apart over the last several years.  The question is, will it stay an anomaly.  The video is startling.  Players ran off the field, fans ran on and total chaos ensued.  

Though drug-gang mafia violence is a daily part of living in Mexico now, it hadn't infiltrated the Soccer world until this past Saturday.  A shootout took place outside the stadium, close by.  It happened during live game action.

Unfortunately, what happened Saturday will leave indelible prints in the minds of many Mexican Soccer fans.

But, expect the fans to come back to the bleachers in a resounding way.  The resilient people of Mexico will send a stark message to the criminal faction that Soccer is off limits.  The Mexican government must act, as well.  They must send additional police and troops to all of their stadiums. 

The importance of the League can not be underestimated.  If violence gives the citizenry too much reason to stay home instead of attending in person, than the drug gangs are winning.  This is a time for action by all of Mexico.  Soccer matches are now a symbol of solidarity.

The events of the past weekend put pressure on Mexico's First Division.  It's a public relations nightmare.  The reality is that more violence during games could put the League in jeopardy.

An image problem can be hard to overcome.  The problems can compound and end up impacting the skill level of the league.  Players may determine it is best to seek contracts with leagues from other countries, like an MLS.

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