The Ultras close shop in Spain


MADRID: Deportivo Coruna's radical group of supporters, the Riazor Blues, have decided to disband in response to criticism levelled at them following the death of one of the club's fans. 

Manuel Rios Suarez died from his injuries when he was attacked by a member of the radical group after watching his side beat Galician rivals Santiago Compostela 1-0 in a King's Cup first round match on Tuesday. 

A spokesman for the Riazor Blues said they had taken the decision to wind up the group in “recognition that they shared part of the blame for the fan's death. 

“The group has got out of control in recent years,” Arturo Revelle told Spanish radio station Onda Cero yesterday.  

“Maybe we should have taken this measure some time ago, because football should be an excuse to enjoy yourself with your mates. 

“The group has now come to an end and anyone who wants to behave violently can no longer hide amongst us.” 

Eyewitness accounts of the incident that led to the death of the 31-year-old said he had been attacked by one of the Riazor Blues after he had tried to intervene to prevent an attack on a boy wearing a Compostela shirt outside the stadium. 

“One of the fans turned round, jumped into the air and kicked him (Rios) with his two feet,” Rios' girlfriend was quoted as saying in Spanish daily El Mundo on Thursday. 

“When he was on the ground, the fan apologised because he saw that he was supporting the same team,” she added. 

“Manuel began to feel unwell and had to sit down on some nearby grass. We got scared because he started to bleed from his nose and so we quickly called an ambulance.” 

A spokesperson from the Santiago hospital where Rios was admitted said that he was dead on arrival at the hospital's casualty unit.  

Spanish football was left facing one of it worst weeks in years after an upsurge in crowd violence. 

Besides Suarez's death,there was another incident where referee Jesus Tellez Sanchez suspended a later tie at Castellon's Castalia Stadium when he was hit on the head by a mobile phone battery thrown from the crowd after he had awarded a penalty to visiting side Valencia. 

The two incidents came just days after television pictures showed a man attempting to stab rival fans at the fourth division match between Langreo and Real Oviedo. 

Spanish football has been plagued by a rising tide of violence in recent seasons and confrontations with police have become a common occurrence at matches. 

Last year both the Spanish government and the Football Federation promised that they would crack down on football-related violence, but as yet there have been few concrete measures to deal with the problem. 

The last tragedy in Spain occurred five years ago when Real Sociedad fan Aitor Zabaleta was stabbed in the heart by a member of Atletico Madrid's radical group of supporters prior to the UEFA Cup tie between the two sides in the Spanish capital. – Reuters  

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