Sat, 19 Jun 2021

Colombian footballers call for stoppage amid unrest

14 May 2021, 15:05 GMT+10

BOGOTA, May 13 (Xinhua) -- Colombian football players' union Acolfutpro has called for all domestic competitions to be suspended as civil unrest grips the South American country.

According to Colombia's human rights ombudsman, at least 43 people have died in two weeks of anti-government protests against tax reform and growing inequality during the pandemic.

"We ask the Colombian Football Federation, the Dimayor league and the clubs that matches in local tournaments be postponed until the current situation of public order that affects the entire country and puts our integrity at risk is resolved," Acolfutpro said in a statement late on Thursday.

It said the stance was taken following a virtual meeting involving club captains earlier in the day.

The South American Football Confederation (CONMEBOL) shifted four Copa Libertadores and Copa Sudamericana matches away from Colombia last week amid security concerns.

Wednesday's Copa Libertadores clash between Junior and River Plate in Barranquilla was tarnished by images of players and officials visibly struggling with the effects of tear gas released outside the stadium.

"As citizens, rather than footballers, we want to express our full support for the outcry expressed by the Colombian people in their protest and we join those voices that ask for a more just, equitable and inclusive country," Acolfutpro added.

The request comes as Colombia prepares to co-host the Copa America alongside Argentina. The tournament is scheduled to begin on June 13 with the final earmarked for Barranquilla's Estadio Metropolitano on July 10.

Barranquilla is also slated to host a FIFA World Cup qualifier between Colombia and Argentina on June 8.

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