Argentina’s football yobs are criminal gangs who take a slice of transfer fees and impose tax on street traders

ARGENTINA'S fan culture can bring back memories of British stadiums in the days before the Taylor Report.

The songs are much better in Argentina, and the pure passion is undiluted by the gift for irony which is so close to the British soul.

Argentina’s football yobs are criminal gangs who take a slice of transfer fees and impose tax on street tradersReuters8 Argentina's yob culture on football borders on thugs becoming professionals
Argentina’s football yobs are criminal gangs who take a slice of transfer fees and impose tax on street tradersAP:Associated Press8 Argentina's fan culture is similar to that of Britain of decades gone by

But the raucous atmosphere has much in common with the Kop or the Stretford End of old.

There is also a hooligan problem – though here there are significant differences.

The British "firms" got themselves organised for a punch up, while Argentine gangs get themselves organised for a much wider range of illegal activities.

It all began with the idea of the clubs in Argentina being representatives, even defenders of the neighbourhood.

Argentina’s football yobs are criminal gangs who take a slice of transfer fees and impose tax on street tradersAP:Associated Press8 Police are often deployed to protect players from abhorrent fan violence
Argentina’s football yobs are criminal gangs who take a slice of transfer fees and impose tax on street tradersAFP8 River Plate and Boca Juniors fans have been at war in recent weeks

The hard corr of fans, then, were the club, and so a habit developed where they would have their travel costs subsidised for away games.

In Argentina, the teams are social clubs.

The president is an elected position, meaning politics is always going on inside the club in a permanent power struggle.

In this context, a rent-a-mob can be very useful; the gang of thugs can give support to one candidate, and intimidate others.

They can put pressure on wayward players and over time the range of activities has grown.

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