Boca's place in Cup at stake after fan violence

Fri May 15, 2015 4:25pm EDT
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By Richard Lough and Luis Ampuero

BUENOS AIRES (Reuters) - Disciplinary proceedings against Boca Juniors were opened on Friday by The South American Football Confederation (CONMEBOL) after at least one of their fans attacked rival River Plate players with what appeared to be pepper spray.

Four River Plate players were taken to hospital on Thursday following the incident and Argentina's security chief slammed Boca for failing to protect their rivals during the last-16 second leg superclasico.

He also criticized CONMEBOL for taking more than an hour to abandon the match.

In a statement on Friday, Paraguay-based CONMEBOL said it had "handed the (Argentine) club until 1400 (local time) tomorrow to present its case."

Soccer in Latin America has a history of fan violence and the situation in Argentina has worsened in recent years with the rise of barra bravas, organized hooligan firms.

Boca president Daniel Angelici said the club was analyzing video footage to determine who was to blame for the assault which shocked many supporters already hardened to violence among rival gangs.

"We are using video footage ... to identify quickly and mete out a punishment that sets an example to others, and also to understand why a person would throw a liquid that can hurt players and cause a match to be suspended," Angelici told a news conference.

CONMEBOL must now decide whether to throw Boca out of the tournament.   Continued...

Boca Juniors' Daniel Osvaldo (L) gestures after the Copa Libertadores soccer match against River Plate was suspended in Buenos Aires, Argentina, May 14, 2015. REUTERS/Enrique Marcarian