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South Africa deports Argentina's 'barra brava' hooligans from World Cup

Ten 'barra brava' hooligans from Argentina were arrested at South Africa's main airport and deported for planning to disrupt the World Cup, South African police said on Monday.

By Matthew ClarkStaff writer / June 9, 2010



South African police arrested 10 of Argentina's infamous "barra brava" hooligans upon arrival at South Africa's main airport today after receiving a list of some 800 names from Argentina.

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"Intelligence indicated that these persons would commit acts of public disorder, engage in acts of violence and provoke conflict with certain fans of opponent teams and other groups from Argentina during the 2010 FIFA World Cup," the statement said. "They are known to have a history of being involved in crime and antagonising local law enforcement agencies."

Aside from England's hooligans, Argentina's "barra brava" are known to football fans worldwide as some of the roughest around.

As Agence France-Presse reports, there have been 241 football-related deaths officially registered in Argentina since 1924, according to the non-governmental organization Salvemos al Futbol (Let's Save Football).

The group of 10 is now being deported back to Argentina.

Next up: English hooligans?

Sending some of them away may be in their own best interest, according to a piece in the British tabloid, The Sun, about gang violence and tough policing in Cape Town, where England will be playing against Algeria on June 18.

A world away from [Cape Town center's] beaches and trendy bars, Mitchell's Plain is a place where England fans would be very unwise to set foot.

Ex-meth addict Nathan de Bruyn, 24, who now works for a rehabilitation program nearby, warned: "The gangs will see World Cup fans as golden nuggets."

But it's not just the gangs that unruly fans in Cape Town should watch out for, according to the Sun. South Africa's hardened police aren't feeling very tolerant of hooligans, either.

"If you act like a hooligan here then you are a hooligan under my rules," Cape Town's metro police chief, Rob Young, told the Sun. "We don't shoot water cannons, we shoot rubber bullets. Do your hooligans burn schools, do they carry machetes? If not they're meek and mild as far as I'm concerned. We deal with real hooligans."

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