Soccer ban on visiting fans lifted in Argentina

August 24, 2011 - 12:40 PM

BUENOS AIRES, Argentina (AP) — Thousands of soccer fans in Argentina will be able to support their teams at away matches for the first time in four years after the Argentine Football Association lifted a ban on visitors in the lower leagues.

The ban was put in place in July 2007 amid rising violence inside and outside stadiums that culminated in a fan's death after a promotion playoff between Nueva Chicago and Tigre.

The ban will be lifted this weekend, and did not apply to clubs in the country's top Primera Division.

The AFA was under pressure to scrap the ban after top club River Plate's surprise relegation last season.

In June, River was relegated to the second division for the first time in its 110-year history, a blow to a club that has won 33 titles in the top flight — 10 more than anyone else.

At River's first away match in the lower tier, home club Independiente Rivadavia sold around 15,000 tickets to visiting fans in defiance of the ban.

Faced by the practical difficulties of keeping River fans from attending away matches, the AFA decided to lift the ban for all clubs in the four divisions beneath the top flight on Tuesday.

"The return of fans to pitches is good news," AFA president Julio Grondona said.