Football fan convicted of stabbing rival supporter

Football fan convicted of stabbing rival supporter

Published May. 13, 2011 8:58 p.m. ET

A football fan who stabbed a rival supporter to death during a battle between opposing hooligan groups has received a 33-year prison sentence.

The sentence by a Bogota court Friday is the most severe punishment handed down for hooligan violence in Colombia.

Santa Fe supporter Miguel Angel Osorio was accused of stabbing Jeider Johan Fonseca during a brawl in a Bogota cafe between rival groups from the Santa Fe and Millionarios clubs in September 2009.

Although Osorio was tried under existing statutes, the sentence coincides with the recent approval of a ''football law'' that cracks down on violence linked to the sport.

Brawls between hooligan groups - called ''Barras Bravas'' in Spanish - are common in Colombia, often taking place far from stadiums and even when there is no match being played.

The ''football law'' was recently approved by the Colombian parliament after months of debate.

Penalties include prison sentences of five to 10 years for fans who endanger lives with firearms, knives or explosives.


Murders will still be dealt with by the existing penal code, as in Osorio's case.

Colombian president Juan Manuel Santos announced Friday via his Twitter account that he had signed the new law - the last step needed for it to be used by the courts.

''I hope football moves forward,'' Santos tweeted. ''I invite everyone to do sports, the best way of being healthy.''