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A fan of Mexican football team Atlas holds a banner reading “We demand justice” for the fans injured during fights following the match against Queretaro on March 5, during a march in Guadalajara, Jalisco State, Mexico. Mexico's football league has banned fans from stadiums following the weekend's violence at La Corregidora stadium in Queretaro, which left 26 people in the hospital, three of them in serious condition. Image Credit: AFP

Mexico’s pro soccer league announced punishments in response to a bloody brawl between fans of host Queretaro and Atlas from Guadalajara, hitting the host team’s top officials with five-year bans and requiring its owners to sell the franchise.

More than 20 people were hospitalized Saturday and fighting for their lives, after a melee broke out during a match between 7th-place Atlas and 12th-placed Queretaro. The home team, Queretaro, has been fined 1.5 million pesos ($70,000) and will have to play home games behind closed doors for a year.

Mexico’s response will be under scrutiny as it is set to host the FIFA Men’s World Cup in 2026. The loss of ticket sales will hit Queretaro’s bottom line, but it keeps its right to play in the league and its main income stream - lucrative television rights.

Awarded 3-0 win

The league suspended Sunday’s scheduled games as it scrambled to respond to the fight. Atlas, the league’s defending champions, were awarded a 3-0 win over Queretaro by authorities. Atlas had been leading 1-0 early in the second half when play was halted.

Law enforcement officials in Queretaro have arrested 10 people in connection to the violence, El Universal newspaper reported Tuesday morning.