Boca Juniors Stadium: Access Denied

Denied at Boca Juniors Stadium in Buenos Aires, ArgentinaSunday night was perfect for a football match. The air was crisp and the moon was full. I had been warned many times to be careful going to La Bombonera (Boca Juniors Football Stadium) at night and to bring only the basics. So, with a gray zip up hoodie, blue t-shirt (for Boca), limited money, stealth-mode iFlip camera and running sneakers just in case something went down, I was prepared.

We checked my buddies car into a parking garage near the stadium and walked over to the entrance. The entrance however wasn’t like an organized “find your gate” style procedure like in the states. Armed police file you around blocked off streets to small openings between giant riot fences where you are packed in like sardines. We got shoved into a line trying to enter near the popular section of the stadium where all the action happens, and before we knew it the whole line started pushing and cursing at one another. It was a disaster. There were 2 cops padding people down at the front of the line, but they were both too busy smoking darts to care about the chaos. The frustrated crowd responded to this 15 minute gauntlet by yelling and cursing at the police officers to let them in, even right in front of their faces “Che Putos Vamos!” Interesting.

Once we made it through the crazy mob we walked over to our section entrance and showed our passes to the guard. Sergio and Anibal got through just fine, while the guard took a second glance at mine and said.. “This isn’t you”!? Shit!

I was using Anibal’s brothers Boca membership card and Sergio was using Anibal’s fathers. I didn’t mention this at the beginning of the story because we didn’t think it was a factor… until this point. I used my buddy Marco’s aunts membership card to get into the Racing Football Stadium with no problem. The reason for the membership cards is that you can’t really buy tickets for the section we wanted to go in, the popular section (aka La Doce or 12th man) is mostly for card holders.

My buddy Anibal stepped right in and started pleading with the guy that this was his brothers ID and that I flew here from New York to see Boca play. He said “You can’t take it away from a man if he wants to come and experience the greatness that is Boca”. From what I could understand, I thought he gave a great speech. The guard didn’t see it the same way. He said “this isn’t my problem and that he would get in trouble if he let me in.”

I thought, okay well the next obvious move was to bribe him right? So I took out 50 pesos and held it down by my side. He noticed it immediately and said “you better put that away before you get thrown in jail.”What??  Back to square one, I know nothing about Argentina. I thought it was a simple answer, but I guess the stadium cameras were watching him. To make matters worse he actually took the card so we couldn’t try it at another gate.

Anibal went around and talked to a few other people with no luck. At this point it was too late to buy tickets at the stadium and we couldn’t trust buying them off the street.

So, like I said before, Sunday night was perfect for watching the basketball playoffs and drinking beers with good friends.

I’ll be back.

More Successful Argentine Football Experiences:

Football in Argentina – Racing vs Huracan

Football in Argentina – River vs Argentinos

Football in Argentina – Velez vs River

My name is Gareth Leonard, a Marketing Director turned World Traveler with a passion for slow, meaningful travel. I have been traveling the world full-time for the past 9+ years and document it all on Instagram and YouTube. Come join me!

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