On soccer fields on some of Colombia’s high-crime slums, hundreds of young boys spend hours tossing around a ball. It keeps them away from the problems at home and on the streets, namely, the screaming matches of domestic strives, the lure of bazuco (cocaine-paste cigarettes), and the peer pressure of gangs with access to guns.
But in 2013, at least 15 people have been killed in Colombia in what seems to be soccer-related crimes. In just the past three months, seven young men were murdered for simply wearing the jersey of the opposing team.
Experts say the murders are not soccer-related. Most soccer fans are teenagers or young adults who live in neighborhoods rampant with criminal activities, unemployment, lack of schools, and personal feuds — and wearing the jersey of the opposing team can inflate spirits and get one murdered.