Fan security to be tight for Vegas soccer match

LAS VEGAS (AP) — Soccer fans in Las Vegas will see stepped-up security for an exhibition match Saturday featuring Monarcas Morelia of Mexico and Luis Angel Firpo of El Salvador, following brawls at a match between intense Mexican rivals Chivas and Club America that sent six people to the hospital, officials said.

Las Vegas police officer Larry Hadfield said Friday that police were assigning an “appropriate” number of officers to this weekend’s game following the July 3 clash between fans of rival Mexican teams Chivas and Club America. He declined to provide specifics.

Eduardo Beltramini, president of the game promoter, Planet Futbol, told the Las Vegas Review-Journal ( ) that when fans see more security “they’ll be less tempted to run onto the field and cause trouble.”

“We’ve talked to the stadium and the police and we’ll provide adequate security,” Beltramini said.

The Houston-based company has been organizing soccer games since 1993 and, Beltramini said, “never had the kind of incident that they had in Las Vegas last week with Chivas and Club America.”

Beltramini said the rivalry is less intense between Monarcas Morelia and Luis Angel Firpo and their respective fans.

Chivas won the “friendly” match, 1-0. But the event was marred by fights in the parking lot before the game, confrontations in the stands during the game and brawls on the field after fans stormed the field. Play halted with several minutes still on the clock.

Bottles and flares were thrown and fireworks were set off in the stands. Photos showed one fan punched and kicked in the face, leaving him bloodied, unconscious and face down on the field.

The Las Vegas Sun reported ( ) the game, called El Super Clasico, drew 14,000 fans and was staffed by 170 part-time security officers, ushers, ticket takers and an initial assignment of about 40 police officers.

The number of officers nearly tripled after Las Vegas, Henderson and University of Nevada, Las Vegas police officers were summoned.

Photos showed officers in riot gear and bloodied fans being treated by paramedics.

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