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Copa América to go ahead without drums, beer and banners after Chile ban

Copa América to go ahead without drums, beer and banners after Chile ban

Posted by Diego Hidalgo on March 07, 2015

In a bid to keep South America’s notorious barra brava fans away from football stadiums, Chile is implementing strict rules that fans complain will take the fizz out of proceedings at the Copa América in June.

Matches featuring South American teams are renowned for their colour and noise, creating an atmosphere that can make European matches seem dour by comparison. However, some elements of that atmosphere can undermine security and controls are being tightened, said José Roa, the head of the Chilean government’s Safe Stadium Plan.

“Our aim is to create a framework so the football community can enjoy a safe party, and exclude from the stadiums those who have set themselves apart from the football community,” he said.

Drums, whose throbbing beat is so often the backdrop to Latin American matches, could block exits and will not be allowed in to Copa games. Nor will fireworks, flares or banners. The latter can impede views or be used to smuggle in weapons or other banned items, Roa said.

The security crackdown has upset fans, who say it is disproportionate. One local Facebook group with 17,000 likes said: “Drums and banners do not generate violence ... we are fans, not criminals.” Last month, the barra brava of Chilean team Colo-Colo raised a banner at a match that read: “Without a fiesta, there is no Cup”.

Roa said Chile was working closely with other competing nations and would use ID checks to prevent known trouble-makers from entering stadiums. They were learning lessons from last year’s World Cup in Brazil, he said, without elaborating.

The security head also ruled out the sale of alcohol, which is not allowed at football matches in Chile. At the 2014 World Cup, however, the sport’s world governing body Fifa insisted that a similar existing ban in Brazil was overturned. “That [no alcohol] is the law in Chile ... and that law is current and will also be applied to the Copa América,” said Roa.

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