LATIN AMERICA

Soccer player in Argentina shoots referee who had sent him off

Amateur leagues are seeing a rise in violence in the Latin American country

In Argentina’s professional leagues, fans of visiting teams are not allowed to attend games in a bid to prevent violence.
In Argentina’s professional leagues, fans of visiting teams are not allowed to attend games in a bid to prevent violence.Ricardo Ceppi

A man was killed and another wounded on Sunday during an amateur soccer match at La Quinta stadium in Ribera (Córdoba Province, Argentina). An unnamed player attacked a member of the rival team and the referee sent him off. The player, whom witnesses say goes by the nickname Pelado, went off the pitch, pulled out a revolver from his bag, and shot the 43-year-old referee.

According to the news agency EFE, police sources confirmed that the referee suffered three gunshot wounds, to the chest, neck and head. The shooter fled after the incident and remains at large. Another player who was shot in the chest is still in hospital.

Córdoba authorities are looking for the suspect but the news of the incident has been overshadowed by a storm that tore through Córdoba city on Monday. The flooding, lack of electricity and evacuations left four people dead and hundreds wounded. Heavy rainfall is expected throughout the rest of the week.

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Un jugador mata al árbitro que lo había expulsado

Argentinean soccer is known for its promising young talent but it is also associated with violence on the field. According to the organization Salvemos al Fútbol, there have been more than 300 soccer-related deaths since 1922.

In professional leagues, fans of visiting teams are not allowed to attend games at the rival team’s stadium. The Argentinean government, which controls TV rights for the first division, allows soccer clubs to reserve the right to refuse admission to hooligan groups, known in Argentina as barras bravas.

But in the wake of Sunday’s incident, it appears that the violence has reached the amateur levels too.

English version by Dyane Jean François.

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