Was Lodi Prepared for Violent Clashes Outside Grape Bowl?

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LODI -- Two fan groups clashed on the streets Saturday during a soccer match in Lodi, sending several to the hospital.

The soccer brawl was a fight between Chivas and Club America fans, which caught the City of Lodi off guard.

"You know we have had soccer games here in the past. We've never had anything like this," said Jeff Hood, the director of the Lodi Parks and Recreation Department.

The Lodi Parks and Recreation Department oversees events at the Grape Bowl. Hood said the promoter of the game had experience with soccer games and had fulfilled city requirements to hold the event.

"We had security requirements and told them some of the ins and outs of operating at the Grape Bowl," Hood told FOX40.

But those who follow Mexican soccer know a minimum amount of security won't be enough.

"Support squads are sometimes a little rowdy and that's what ends up happening when you don't have enough security," said soccer promoter Jose Reynoso.

Reynoso has worked to promote soccer games between teams Chivas and Club America in the past. While he wasn't involved in Saturday's tour, which features retired players of both squads taking part in a friendly match, he says it's common knowledge that there's bad blood between the teams' fans.

"In Mexico, this is it. This is the national rivalry. They play each other and they've been doing it for many, many, many years," he said.

The same two teams of retired players held a match in San Diego earlier this month, however, there were no problems.

Reynoso says on tours he's worked on event staff would typically meet with police and security a few days beforehand to prepare for what could happen in the stadium and beyond.

"You have people who are just going to show up, who aren't even going to go to the game, they're just going to tailgate, they're gonna party," Reynoso said. "And many of those people are there to cause problems."

Hood points out there were no issues inside the stadium but he says after Saturday's brawl the city has learned its lesson.

"Yeah I don't think the likelihood of this event returning is very high," Hood said.

But Reynoso feels they shouldn't ban soccer but next time better prepare for its fans.

"To blame the sport? I think that's wrong," he said.

Hood says the city requested the promoter hire police officers at the event. However, the Lodi Police Department told FOX40 none of its officers were there before the fight broke out.

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