Mexico City – The Mexican Soccer Federation called for more efforts to fight violence in the wake of an incident that forced the suspension of the Santos-Morelia match last weekend.
"It is clear that the incident that occurred on Saturday at the stadium had nothing to do with internal matters or soccer," Mexican Soccer Federation secretary-general Decio de Maria said after a meeting Monday with representatives of all the professional divisions.
The security in place at First-Division stadiums, "although it can be improved, was very effective in controlling a situation that could have turned out much more disastrously," De Maria said.
Events that happen outside a stadium "cannot be nor should they be, nor can they ever be accepted to be, the responsibility of those who organize soccer (matches), the teams," De Maria said.
The match between Santos and Morelia was suspended due to gunfire outside Corona stadium in the city of Torreon, but no one was injured in the incident.
Play was halted in the 40th minute when the players, referees and benches of both squads ran for cover after hearing gunfire from outside the stadium behind the goal defended by Morelia goalkeeper Federico Vilar.
Hundreds of spectators rushed on the field to protect themselves from the gunfire while scores of others took shelter under their seats.
The shootout apparently started outside the stadium when a Federal Police vehicle responded to shots fired by unidentified individuals, Santos officials said.
The two teams are expected to decide in the next few days when to resume the match, which was at 0-0 when play was halted, De Maria said.
All the divisions of professional soccer want to defend and promote the sport, which provides "family entertainment," the Mexican Soccer Federation secretary-general said, reading from a prepared statement.
The federation wants the Calderon administration, Congress and the judicial branch to "get together and solve this problem that is affecting our society and save the real values we have as a society," De Maria said.
The federation plans to review its security procedures, but the problem "is on the other side" of the stadium walls, De Maria said.
The federation does not plan to take special measures for the upcoming friendlies to be held in Mexico, such as the Under 22 match between Mexico and Chile, because team officials have confidence that the authorities will provide adequate security, De Maria said.