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 Cali police arrest 66 after America fans riot over relegation

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PostSubject: Cali police arrest 66 after America fans riot over relegation    Wed 21 Dec 2011, 12:25

COLOMBIA, AMERICA CALI - Patriotas Tunja (relegation/promotion playoff)

Fans of Colombian giants America de Cali reacted furiously as their team was relegated from Categoria A for the first time in their history, battling police and destroying property in a riot that left 15 people injured.

The 13-time title winners will play in the second tier from 2012 after losing in a penalty shootout to Patriotas, ending their unbroken run in the top flight that stretches back to the beginning of the Colombian league system in 1948.

Supporters of the club were furious after Saturday's defeat and began to fight riot police inside the ground before taking their grievances to the area around the team's Pascal Guerrero stadium.

According to police director Rodolfo Palomino, the damage from the incidents was extensive and serious.

"We knew that in Cali the possibility of disturbances was very real. Besides the [15 people] injured, 16 establishments surrounding the Estadio Pascal Guerrero suffered damages," the official stated in declarations reproduced by Univision.

"Nine vehicles were smashed, 62 people were arrested and 42 weapons were seized."

Cali mayor Jorge Ivan Ospina condemned those involved, while showing his sympathy for fans of the club.

"The sadness is huge, the 'American' people are crying. However, this cannot be turned into an excuse for violence, aggression and intolerance," Ospina asserted.

America were one of the best teams in South America during the 1980s and 90s, but in recent years have struggled with poor performances on the pitch and a difficult economic situation; not helped by their presence on the 'Clinton List' which prohibits them from receiving investment from sponsors and other outside sources, due to previous alleged links with drug traffickers.

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Cali police arrest 66 after America fans riot over relegation

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