“Murderers out of the ultra world” read a banner carried by Biris Norte, a group of ultras supporting Sevilla. The message was unveiled outside the group’s home stadium before Sevilla faced Atlético Madrid Sunday in La Liga.
The statement was a reference to an incident in December — a brawl between an Atlético ultras group, Frente Atlético, and fans of Deportivo La Coruña — which lead to the death of 43-year-old Jimmy Romero, who suffered serious head injuries, a heart attack and hypothermia after being thrown in a river.
According to Spanish outlet AS, Biris Norte has a positive relationship with Deportivo’s Riazor Blues ultras. Inside Ramón Sánchez Pizjuán Stadium, Biris Norte chanted “murderers” at visiting Atlético fans.
Before you jump to commend Biris Norte for their bravery, know that the group has received more warnings than any other group from La Liga‘s Anti-Violence Commission.
Telling heroes from villains among supporters groups — particularly among those who take the extra step of identifying themselves as “ultras” — can be difficult. Attempting to accurately characterize the entirety of any group with a singular ethos is impossible. Biris Norte’s justifiable but wildly hypocritical public shaming of Frente Atlético would almost be laughable if it wasn’t for the fact that ultras culture in Spain seems to be getting legitimately out of control.