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Uruguayan Football Team Explains Clash With Colombian Fans

TThis summer’s Copa América soccer tournament in the United States has been characterised by intense physicality on the pitch, but it was the action off the pitch that drew the most attention, with seven yellow cards and one red card handed out in Wednesday night’s semifinal.

The Bank of America Stadium in Charlotte, North Carolina, was filled with a sea of ​​yellow, with Colombian fans far outnumbering their blue-shirted opponents Uruguay. But tensions quickly boiled over after the final whistle blew, with Uruguay heading home and Colombia advancing to the final.

Footage of the scene, which has spread rapidly on social media, shows rival fans throwing punches and offering drinks to each other, with Uruguayan players including Liverpool forward Darwin Núñez and Barcelona defender Ronald Araújo coming into the stands to join the fight.

Núñez was seen throwing punches at Colombian fans several times as teammates tried to restrain him, but security guards tried to separate the two sides.

The stand-off followed a brief brawl between rival players on the pitch following a tense match in which favourites Uruguay lost 1-0 to Colombia. Colombia extended their unbeaten run to 28 games after Daniel Muñoz was sent off for elbowing an opponent, despite being down to one man for the entire second half. Colombia travel to Miami on Sunday to face Lionel Messi and Argentina for the South American title.

After the fight had calmed down, Uruguayan captain José María Giménez told reporters that his teammates had acted in response to a group of Colombian fans who had attacked the families of Uruguayan players sitting in a section close to the touchline. “They attacked all our families,” Giménez said, lamenting the lack of official security intervention. “This is a disaster. Our families are in danger. We had to get to the top of the stands as quickly as possible to save our loved ones.”

Uruguayan Football Federation President Ignacio Alonso reiterated the statement after the match, telling reporters: “The Uruguayan players showed a natural instinctive reaction to defend and protect the children who were in that area of ​​the stadium and who were subject to attacks against women, parents, closest family members, siblings. And that was a natural and very logical reaction for a father, instinctively, given the events around them.”

ESPN commentator and former US national team player Herculez Gomez voiced the Uruguayans’ frustrations, describing the lack of security at the stadium as “dangerously deplorable” and sharing footage of Núñez consoling his young son after the brawl on X.

CONMEBOL, The South American football body that organises the Copa América condemned the violence in a statement, saying fans should channel their passion into chants and that there was “no room for intolerance and violence on or off the pitch”.