4 dead as rival fans fight before Honduran soccer game

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Firefighters carry away a soccer fan affected by tear gas fired by police to break up deadly fights between fans before the start of a game between Motagua and Olimpia, inside the national stadium in Tegucigalpa, Honduras, late Saturday, Aug. 17, 2019. (Victor Colindres/La Tribunal via AP)
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Soccer fans affected by tear gas fired by police are helped by members of the Red Cross after a deadly fight broke out between fans before the start of a game between Motagua and Olimpia, inside the national stadium in Tegucigalpa, Honduras, late Aug. 17, 2019.(Victor Colindres/La Tribunal via AP)
Updated 19 August 2019
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4 dead as rival fans fight before Honduran soccer game

  • The violence began when fans of the Olimpia team threw stones and other objects Saturday evening at a bus carrying Motagua players to the National Stadium

TEGUCIGALPA, Honduras: A fourth victim has died from injuries sustained during a fight between fans of the rival Honduran soccer teams Motagua and Olimpia, a hospital spokeswoman said Sunday.
The violence began when fans of the Olimpia team threw stones and other objects Saturday evening at a bus carrying Motagua players to the National Stadium, breaking windows and injuring three players. Emilio Izaguirre, a former player for Scotland’s Celtic club, sustained a cut near his eye. Paraguayan Roberto Moreira and Argentine Jonathan Rougier were also injured by glass fragments.
Bus driver Marcos Castellanos said the vehicle was hit as he drove the Motagua players down a street in the capital of Tegucigalpa.
“We were leaving the hotel when about 250 people attacked the bus with bottles in the street,” said Castellanos, describing the attackers as “furious.”
The National League and police suspended the game, but a fight broke out between fans of the teams at and around the stadium. Fists flew and gunfire was heard before police used tear gas to disperse the crowd.
Hospital spokeswoman Juliette Chavarría said three spectators died Saturday, and a fourth died on Sunday. Officials identified the latest fatality as David Zepeda, 22, who was beaten to death. Three people are in stable condition, Chavarría said.
Police also had to chase rowdy fans out of the hospital, where some arrived to continue the tussle.
Police spokesman Jair Meza said one person with guns was arrested for allegedly participating in the fight.
The stadium will be closed until further notice. The National League did not set a new date for the game to be played.
“We regret these situations and I call on the fans of Olimpia and other teams in the National League to avoid carrying out these acts which damage soccer,” said Olimpia president Rafael Villeda.
Fans of Motagua and Olimpia have engaged in deadly clashes in the past.


Iran assures FIFA that women can attend football qualifier

Updated 22 September 2019
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Iran assures FIFA that women can attend football qualifier

  • FIFA traveled to Iran ahead of the weekend for talks on the matter of women and football
  • The Islamic republic has barred female spectators from football and other stadiums since 1981

MILAN: FIFA has been “assured” that Iran will lift its 40-year ban and allow women to attend a World Cup qualifying game next month.

Football’s governing body wants Iran to end its ban on women entering stadiums that breaches international football statutes prohibiting discrimination.

Global attention on the ban followed the death this month of a 29-year-old activist, Sahar Khodayari, who set herself on fire outside a courthouse. She had been detained for dressing as a man to enter a football stadium in Tehran and faced six months in prison.

“There is women’s football in Iran but we need Iranian women as well to be able to attend the men’s game,” FIFA President Gianni Infantino said in a speech at a conference on women’s football on Sunday. “And we need to push for that with respect but in a strong and forceful way. We cannot wait anymore.

“We have been assured, that as of the next international game of Iran, women will be allowed to enter football stadiums. This is something very important, it is 40 years that this has not happened, with a couple of exceptions, but it is important to move to the next level and to the next stage.”

FIFA sent an inspection team to Iran this week to meet government and football officials ahead of Iran’s match against Cambodia at the 78,000-capacity Azadi Stadium on Oct. 10 — its first home match of the 2022 qualifying competition.

Infantino’s comments drew praise from United States outgoing coach Jill Ellis, who was at the same FIFA conference in Milan, two months after leading the American women’s team to a second successive World Cup title.

“I think it’s huge,” Ellis said. “FIFA has enough of a pull and ability to influence change and I think it’s absolutely the right thing. I mean I don’t think there should be any discrimination period and to not allow women to go see football I think is, I just can’t even wrap my brain around it in terms of it being something. I think if FIFA can influence that, I think it’s great.”