Fan dies in Argentina, match halted as players forced to lose weight over tear gas

A football fan died in Argentina and the match between Gimnasia La Plata and Boca Juniors was halted on Thursday after tear gas fired outside the venue by police entered the stadium and made it difficult for players and spectators to breathe.

The circumstances surrounding the death were unclear, but Sergio Berni, Security Minister of the Province of Buenos Aires, told local television that the fan died of a heart problem as he left the Juan Carmelo Zerillo stadium in La Plata.

The incident comes five days after a stampede at a football match in Indonesia killed at least 131 as fans tried to flee a riot and tear gas fired by police in one of the world’s worst sports disasters.

According to authorities in Argentina, Gimnasia fans tried to break into the stadium, which was already full, and police used rubber bullets and tear gas to force them back.

Players were seen with their faces covered as supporters entered the pitch trying to escape the tear gas. The Argentine topper was stopped after nine minutes.

ESPN quoted Gimnasia player Leonardo Morales as saying: “My two-year-old son couldn’t breathe. We feel desperate and worried about all the people in the stands.

“We were playing a normal football game and it turned into this and the feeling that our relatives were about to die.”

Berni said his ministry would open an investigation into the incident, adding that too many tickets may have been sold, but the home team Gimnasia said they had not and had adhered to security protocols.

“We will demand an investigation into what happened until those responsible for this tragic day are known,” the club said in a statement.

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