Two dead in fights following Medellín’s soccer derby 

By May 2, 2023

Medellín, Colombia – A brawl on Medellín’s Carrera 70 left two dead and fourteen injured following a soccer derby between the city’s two main teams; Deportivo Independiente Medellín and Atlético Nacional. 

The altercation happened hours after the clásico paisa ended on Saturday, which resulted in a 1-3 victory for Nacional over Independiente Medellín.

The Metropolitan Police of Medellin reported that groups of fans from both teams clashed with bladed weapons and blunt objects near the Atanasio Girardot stadium.

They reported that the two killed were fans of Independiente Medellín, aged 25 and 34. 

“Other members of these ultra groups were injured and were taken to different health care centres in the city of Medellín,” said Colonel Henry Bello, commander of Operations and Citizen Security.

Medellín’s mayor, Daniel Quintero, expressed his regret over the incident and provided further details, stating:

“Yesterday every minute of the Clásico was played in peace. It is a pity that it lasted so little. Today at two o’clock in the morning two fans got into a pitched brawl that cost them their lives. We will act with the full weight of the law. We will give a 200 million [COP] reward to those who help us identify and prosecute those responsible.” 

“None of them will go free. Those who took part in the brawl are not fans, they are murderers. It is not the stadium but prison that awaits them,” he continued, mentioning that the city had video evidence of the attacks.

This incident is one of several that have occurred throughout the country involving “barras bravas” from various teams in recent weeks. 

A recurring issue

Just over two weeks ago, a match between Nacional and América de Cali was postponed due to riots in the Atanasio Girardot stadium. Nacional ultras rebelled as the club decided to revoke the benefits it had historically given to Los del Sur, the club’s most famous supporter group.

Tensions rose between the Mayor of Medellín and Nacional’s president following the incident. The day after the match, the mayor claimed, “I will not lend the stadium to Nacional until minimum security conditions are agreed between the supporters’ club and the management, and the team pays for the security.”

The president of Nacional, Mauricio Navarro, responded by saying that “we have proposals to play in Villavicencio, Cartagena and Pereira, and if it is to play abroad, we will do it.”

Quintero responded, “If the president of Nacional thinks he is going to treat me the way he treats his fans, he is very wrong. 1 billion in damages, 89 injured, 800 policemen per match and he still has the nerve to threaten the Mayor’s Office. He doesn’t know me.”

For now, Nacional remain able to play in the Atanasio Girardot stadium.