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Argentinian club’s players attacked by own fans at gunpoint

Argentinian clubs players attacked by own fans at gunpoint.—Guardian
Argentinian club’s players attacked by own fans at gunpoint.—Guardian  

Velez Sarsfield experienced a tumultuous end to their match against Huracan, marked by an unsettling incident as some of their own fans launched a violent attack against the players, resorting to aggression and even wielding firearms.

Following the match, upon the team’s return to their training camp at the Villa Olimpica Stadium, they were confronted by a distressing situation initiated by certain club supporters. A group of fans in multiple cars ambushed the players, creating an atmosphere of fear and intimidation. Gianluca Prestianni, a striker for the team, recounted the harrowing experience, revealing that they encountered individuals affiliated with the ‘Barra Brava’ fan group.

Prestianni disclosed that he endured physical assaults, with attackers hitting him twice in the face while forcefully grabbing his jacket. The tense situation left players anxious about returning home, fearful of potential stalking or harm. The attackers further threatened one of the players, coercing him to leave his car or face shooting in the legs. The incident has had a profound impact on the 17-year-old forward, prompting him to reconsider his future with the club.

Leonardo Jara, a former Boca Juniors defender, also faced danger as a car obstructed his path, accompanied by threats of violence. The appalling incident has left the players, including forward Santiago Castro and defender Francisco Ortega, deeply distressed and troubled.

In response to the violent confrontation, Atletico Velez issued a statement expressing regret and strong condemnation for the alarming situation faced by some of their first-team players near the Villa Olimpica.

Reports from local media suggest that the players opted not to file a police complaint, though they have been called in for criminal investigation. Meanwhile, coach Sebastian Mendez informed the club’s directors that the team will not resume training until adequate security measures are put in place to safeguard their well-being.

Amidst these concerning events, Velez Sarsfield’s sporting performance in the Argentine Professional League has been lackluster, securing only five wins out of 27 matches and culminating in a disappointing 25th place among 28 teams.

The focus now lies on addressing player safety concerns and restoring a sense of security within the club. The shocking incident has sent shockwaves through the football community, emphasising the need to ensure the safety of players and supporters alike.

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