The Peru national football team was involved in a physical altercation with Spanish police outside their hotel in Madrid on Monday. The incident reportedly occurred after fans gathered outside the hotel to greet the team, who are in Spain for friendly matches. The Peruvians suffered a 2-0 defeat to Germany in their first match and are set to play against Morocco on Tuesday.
According to players and video footage shared on social media, the altercation broke out when hundreds of fans approached the team’s hotel after the team had wrapped up a training session. Peruvian goalkeeper Pedro Gallese told Peruvian TV that the players wanted to greet the fans, but the police started hitting them instead.
In the widely-shared videos, midfielder Yoshimar Yotun can be seen arguing with a police officer who then pushed him. Other players and police officers then became involved in the scuffle. Another video showed striker Alex Valera being pushed by police while picking up a flag.
At the time of writing, Reuters was unable to verify the authenticity of the videos. No official statements have been made by the Madrid Municipal Police or the Peruvian Football Federation regarding the incident.
Peruvian media reported that the situation lasted for only a few minutes and was eventually brought under control. However, the incident is likely to be an unwelcome distraction for the Peruvian team ahead of their match against Morocco.
The clash also raises questions about the use of force by police officers in dealing with crowds and the potential dangers of large gatherings during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. The incident is likely to spark debate about the appropriate use of police force in such situations and the responsibility of authorities to ensure the safety of both players and fans.