You have to travel to 2012 to find a classic between Racing and Boca with fans from both sides. It was in the final of the Argentine Cup, in San Juan. Another time, another country: Julio Humberto Grondona lived and governed the AFA, the president of Argentina was Cristina Fernández de Kirchner, the dollar was four pesos and 36 cents and neither TikTok nor Twitch existed. Everything changed, and among those cultural changes was the prohibition of the visiting public in the stadiums, a measure announced after the June 10, 2013, the Buenos Aires Police murdered the fan of Lanús Javier Gerez in the surroundings of the Single Stadium of La Plata .
At that time, the AFA announced that it would prohibit visitors from entering the last two dates of the 2013 Initial Tournament. It was temporary, but we already know what happens with that: the measure remains in force to this day, with a few exceptions.
Today, on the Lanús pitch, the classic between two greats will be a new exception: a litmus test for those who are active and want Argentine soccer to be, once again, a shared party where the “other” is neither an enemy nor a latent danger, but just a circumstantial rival.
The measure –as sociologist Diego Murzi wrote in his book A political history of sports security in Argentina– “is a faithful reflection of the naturalization of control and punishment as the only possible form of regulation of violence in football. The advance of the prohibitions and sanctions on the practices of the fans was incorporating more and more punishable elements and behaviors, and traveled a linear path that in thirty years led directly to the physical suppression of half of the public.
In a dialogue with PROFIL, the head of the Agency for the Prevention of Violence in Sports (Aprevide), Gustavo Gómez, acknowledges that today’s could be a turning point, perhaps the beginning of the end of the ban, or -for the contrary – the confirmation that it should continue. “It’s a double challenge because there is not one, but two visitors: fans of Boca and Racing who are going to come from everywhere,” remarks Gómez. And he adds: “We have other challenges: that people do not accumulate at the entrance and that bottlenecks do not form, because we know that this generates tension and violence. That’s why we ask that people go early.”
There are three issues that the provincial security agency emphasizes: arrive well in advance, do not go if they do not have tickets and avoid showing shirts or badges of the clubs in the vicinity (they ask to try to take out flags and hats just in the unified access).
The operative. La Aprevide and the Professional Soccer League reported that the match will have 33,000 spectators, will be controlled by just over a thousand members of the Buenos Aires Police and with private security reinforcements. The stadium will open three hours before the kick-off time of the match (from 2:00 p.m.).
To avoid the resale of tickets and counterfeits, a system was used in which the tickets will not be physical but digital. Supporters will enter with their ID, because they will be personalized.
Within the security scheme, there will be four systems used: double control of DNI (equivalent to digital tickets), the Tribuna Segura program, the police search and the presence of private security distributed in the entrance rings.
The Racing bias will occupy the local header: the entrance to the popular one will be through Madariaga and Cabrero streets (Gate 3), while access to the stalls will be from General Ferré, Guidi and Cabrero (Gate 5 and 7). For its part, Boca will have the visiting sector, accessing it through Remedios de Escalada. The entrance to the popular will be through the streets Esquiú and Purita (Gate 9), while to the stalls through Cabrero and Esquiú, arriving through Juan B. Justo (Gate 1).
The buses that will take to La Guardia Imperial, Racing’s barrabrava, will depart from Avellaneda, while La 12 will make its way through Remedios de Escalada.
“It is not a field of the dimensions that many people want, but there is no other in the province where this match can be played at this time. We give sports safety supervision and authorization, but the municipalities are the ones that give the authorization,” explained Gómez.
Everything is measured and studied. It only remains to be fulfilled, something that no one dares to certify until the night, when everything is history.
Both with modifications
In a game that promises, Racing and Boca will open the semifinals of the League Cup in Lanús. Boca comes to this match after authoritatively beating Defense and Justice 2-0 at the Bombonera and rounding off one of their best performances in the competition.
Coach Sebastián Battaglia will make a change: the entry of midfielder Juan Ramírez, scorer of one of the goals against Florencio Varela’s cast, for Óscar Romero or Eduardo “Toto” Salvio (the latter has more chances to wait among the substitutes) .
Racing comes from beating Aldosivi 5-0 at the Cilindro, with a display of high football level.
The coach Fernando Gago did not confirm the team because he will wait for the soccer player Matías Rojas, who was one of the figures in front of the cast of Mar del Plata.
According to reports, the variant would be tactical and Fabricio Domínguez would enter, who is the one who has more defensive characteristics.
fans of the fans
In my teenage room I had a strip of newspaper pages that ran the entire length of one wall. They were pages that I specially cut out, most of them in color (a novelty in the 90s) and in none of them was there a player: they were all from the Racing fans.
Those were times when there was not much to be proud of on the court: our years of bankruptcy, of Judge Gorostegui authorizing the team to play from an office in La Plata, of institutional and sports malaria.
The only thing we had –or that we had left– was us, our inexplicable passion. We were almost a rock slogan: the same as always. I went with my old man, who took me everywhere, showed me that fascinating world that always had Racing and its long-suffering people at its center. We were, as the journalist Alejandro Wall once wrote, fans of our fans. With all the good and with all the bad that that implied.
I remember that one of those newspaper clippings was in the Bombonera: the two visiting grandstands to the hands, flags and the soccer liturgy in the dangerous times of El Aguante. I also remember that in 2001, when I was in my third year, I proudly spread a comment that I had heard on TV: that Mauricio Macri’s Boca could give his friend Fernando Marin’s Racing three layups, given that the local team did not play for nothing and the Mustard team was heading for a title after 35 years. That comment, like so many others, never materialized. But it hardly mattered: the mere possibility already made me proud.
In the last hours I have been remembering all that time: since I have the ticket to enter the popular I feel the adrenaline of those teenage years. It is because I will see Racing again in a classic, with almost 20 thousand people from the other team in front. Hopefully we can live up to it and not break the toy again.
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