Police scuffle with Peru national football team in Madrid

Wednesday, Mar 29, 2023

MADRID: Spanish police scuffled with Peru national football players in front of their hotel in Madrid and detained a member of the squad, police and Peruvian officials said on Tuesday.The altercation happened when the squad arrived at their hotel in Madrid on Monday night where some 300 fans were waiting to greet them, a police spokeswoman said.

The Peru squad are in Madrid to play a friendly against Morocco on Tuesday night at Atletico Madrid’s Metropolitano stadium. “The supporters tried to reach the players and police got in the middle between the fans and the players to avoid a crush,” the spokeswoman said.

“A player hit an officer in the eye. The player was then detained and taken to a police station,” the spokeswoman added without naming the player. Peru’s foreign ministry said in a tweet that the detained player was Peruvian goalkeeper Pedro Gallese, who was released without being charged. The Peruvian government has demanded a “clarification” of what happened from the “concerned authorities”, it added.

Videos shared on social media showed officers pushing and shoving the crowd gathered outside the hotel. Among the players who can be seen in the crowd are Gallese and fellow goalkeeper Jose Carvallo as well as midfielder Yoshimar Yotun.Some Spanish media said some of the officers failed to recognise the Peruvian players and confused them with supporters.

In a statement, the Peruvian Football Federation said it was “totally supportive and backs” Gallese, who it had “accompanied since the incident occurred”. “We reiterate that we are respectful of the authorities and the procedures of each country that we visit,” it added.

The Moroccan squad’s team stay in Madrid was marked by the arrest on Sunday of a 27-year-old Spanish employee of the hotel where they are staying for allegedly racially insulting members of the team on social media.