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Queretaro manager says players received death threats after fan brawl halted Atlas match

Queretaro manager Hernán Cristante said that his players have received death threats in the days following scenes of violence at a Liga MX soccer match that left 26 people injured, three critically.

Queretaro’s home match against Atlas was halted on Saturday after brawls among fans in the stands spilled onto the pitch of the Estadio Corregidora. Queretaro state authorities said Sunday that 19 of the 26 have been released from the hospital. Authorities have also issued arrest warrants for 15 people, but no arrests have been made as of Monday afternoon.

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Although no players were injured in the ensuing chaos that saw some fans escape through the tunnels on the field, Cristante said there have been threats against them.

“My players have received death threats, they don’t feel safe, their wives are thinking of fleeing,” Cristante told reporters on Monday. “We didn’t do anything, [the players] helped people, they opened the dressing room doors, they found ways to help.

“It wouldn’t be out of place if someone didn’t want to continue [playing], the club is heartbroken,” he added.

Cristante also explained that comments he made to Queretaro fans on the pitch weren’t meant to incite them, clarifying that he was trying to disuade further violence. In a video, Cristante is seen telling fans on the field to “get them outside.”

“The [attackers] said ‘let’s get them’ and they wanted to enter the tunnel and I told them there will be a tragedy, I took them to the other side and I said ‘yes, yes get them outside’ as its used in education and persuasion,” Cristante said.

Meanwhile, players for Atlas released a video on Monday saying they are “saddened by the events that occurred last weekend, while categorically condeming [them] and that they never happen again.”

Atlas coach Diego Cocca added: “We grew up with and believe in the values of sport, which is why we are here together, because we want football without violence and in peace.”

State authorities have suspended five officials, including police and civil defense employees, who were responsible for planning and preparations of the match.

FIFA said in a statement that it was “shocked at the tragic incident that took place at La Corregidora stadium in the city of Queretaro during the fixture between Queretaro and Atlas.” It called the violence “unacceptable and intolerable.”

Liga MX president Mikel Arriola said he would propose at a club owners meeting Tuesday that those clubs’ fans be barred from their teams’ away matches. Arriola is also expected to address Mexico’s Congress at a hearing on the incident.

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