Atlético has no intention of glossing over this weekend’s tragedy. In the wake of the death of a Deportivo fan outside the Vicente Calderon on Sunday, the club has ceased its association with one of its supporters’ group. Also, Deportivo will close part of the lower stand of its home venue for the next two games.
According to a statement on the club’s website, Atlético has permanently banned ultras Frente Atlético after an investigation revealed the group acted “in an organized and planned way” ahead of and during Sunday’s brawl. The incident left 11 injured and left 43-year-old Francisco “Jimmy” Romero dead after he suffered a heart attack, head injuries, and hypothermia as a result of being thrown into the Manzanares River.
Over the last two days, Atlético’s formed a special commission to investigate the incident, according to the club’s statement. Working with local government agencies, the club identified seven paid supporters who’ve since received lifetime bans. Eight other people linked to the supporters groups have also been identified.
During the same investigation, Frente Atlético was found to have helped coordinate Sunday’s pre-match events. Atlético terminated its relationship with the group and “will do everything in its power to prevent display of any group banners or distinctive features inside the Vicente Calderon.”
“Likewise, the club will pursue any group, large or small, that might arise in the future under any other name [that does not] radically condemn violence or use the name of Atlético Madrid or its facilities to defend political, racist or xenophobic ideas,” the club said.
“Club Atlético de Madrid seeks support from sports organizations, public institutions, the government security forces, the media and all its fans to identify all those whose behavior threatens the essence of sport and the values inherent to it, in order to proceed to immediate expulsion of football.”
Deportivo La Coruña, in its own Tuesday statement, said it will take the “symbolic” step of closing part of the lower bowl at its home ground, the Riazor, for the next two games. One group that populates that part of the stadium, the Riazor Blues, participated in Sunday’s brawl.
“We are aware this measure affects a large number of supporters who have nothing to do with this scourge on football,” Coruña’s statement said, “and that despite that discomfort we ask for your understanding, and we are sure you will understand, share, and proudly partake in this gesture and the message Real Club Deportivo de La Coruña wants to convey.”