Queretaro State authorities in north-central Mexico have suspended five officials after a huge brawl among fans during a weekend match left 26 people injured, three critically.
Guadalupe Murguía, the interior secretary of Queretaro state said late Sunday the private company partly responsible for security at the soccer stadium would also have its contracts canceled.
Police were also at the venue when the brawl occurred Saturday at a match between host Queretaro and Atlas from Guadalajara, the reigning league champion, but were also unable to contain the violence.
The five suspended officials include police and civil defense employees, and three people responsible for planning and preparations.
All matches in Mexico’s top division were canceled Sunday and the league may impose bans on rowdy fans from attending away matches.
Showing just how bad the blood was between Queretaro fans and visitors from Guadalajara, in Jalisco state, Murguía announced that some of the men injured in the brawl — presumably visiting Atlas fans — would be given a police escort to the state line when they are released from the hospital, to protect them.
The Saturday match was suspended in the 62nd minute after multiple fights broke out in the stands. Security personnel opened the gates to the field so that fans, including women and children, could escape the stands.
Queretaro state authorities said Sunday that only 7 of the injured men remained hospitalized; 19 were released from the hospital Monday, but three were still in critical condition.
They may have been the three men who were seen unconscious or badly beaten on the ground, being repeatedly kicked and pummeled in videos posted on social media.
Enrique Alfaro, the governor of Jalisco state, whose capital is Guadalajara, was asked Monday about local press reports the brawl may have involved local criminal gangs fighting visitors who purportedly belonged to the Jalisco drug cartel.
“What it seems to me is that what we saw was not a normal dispute between fans,” Alfaro said. “What happened there was something that looked different.”