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Getting in to a Boca Juniors Game

If it was easy why would you do it?

In Buenos Aires there are two main football teams, River Plate and Boca Juniors. Unfortuantely in 2011 River Plate were relegated to the second division depriving us of the main event in the Argentinian football league, the superclassico between these two sides.

Often listed as one of those things that you have to do, to see a football match in Buenos Aires is a very noisy experience, not the same as the tranquil games we get in Europe, with maybe games in Istanbul coming closest! River Plate have the biggest stadium in Argentina, the venue for the 1978 World Cup which the hosts won, but as a viewing ground it is not the best having been built in a circle, not the best shape for a football pitch.

On the other hand, the Boca stadium is perfect for football. High tiered stands right next to the pitch and the infamous Boca fans who never stop with the noise make an amazing atmosphere.

But I do not know ! It is not easy to get into a Boca game, they have an odd ticketing system. Most tickets go to the club members, not to the general public. They do have a ticket office near the Boca stadium where tickets can be sold on the morning of the game where you may get lucky. The common tourist alternative is to join a tourist group where you pay a lot of money to be guided to the game. This has the upside in that you will get in, paying 8 times the face value of a ticket. The other downsides are they take you there hours before, for your safety they say, but I am not sure what there is to be scared about in all honesty, normal scaremongering by the guide books. And they keep you there long after the game too, and I have heard they give you a slice of terrible pizza too !

So I tried to do what I would do in any other country, buy a ticket outside of the stadium. There are lots of warning of fake tickets to be found but about this I cannot say as the game I went to see was the season opener between Boca and Olimpo. This meant that there were no tickets on sale to the public, the only way in was on a tourist group or as a club member. But I had heard that there was another way. Staff can overlook the fact that you have no ticket and let you in anyway for a fee.

So asking the football shirt sellers outside soon found me led to a fixer, a person who can get you inside. I joined a group of other people who had also paid the guy 200 pesos (ouch – $45) to smuggle us inside. I felt better as some of the others were argentinians. The guy went off leaving us near a cafe where he knew everyone and … never came back! It seemed the game on this evening could not be penetrated due to a large police cordon around the whole site, with every single ticket/club card being checked to allow you to even approach the stadium. Sigh, money lost but it was kinda fun in a twisted way and a good experience to amuse friends in a bar with !

Tags : argentina

Written : 2012-03-16

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