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Argentina refs threaten strike action

AAP logoAAP 6/12/2016

Argentine referees threatened on Tuesday to go on strike this weekend in protest at a brutal attack on a match official by angry fans.

Any stoppage would hit the 'Superclasico' match between Buenos Aires rivals River Plate and Boca Juniors, one of the biggest games of the domestic season, scheduled for Sunday at River's Monumental Stadium.

The Union of Sporting Referees of the Republic of Argentina, known by its Spanish acronym as SADRA, wants the stoppage after the attack on referee Claudio Elichiri, union director Guillermo Marconi said Tuesday.

A final decision on whether to strike or not will be taken after talks with Argentina's labour ministry.

The violence broke out Sunday after Elichiri failed to award a penalty in favour of local team Sarmiento during a decisive regional league game against Sansinena.

Sansinena then scored a goal right away, taking a 2-1 lead. Irate fans invaded the field and the referee sent off several protesting Sarmiento players and suspended the game, enraging local fans and players.

Elichiri escaped with the help of some Sarmiento players. He told local radio that he had to get stitches under his left eye and is still hurting from bruises.

Argentina's Referee Association said Tuesday that it would join the strike in solidarity with the SADRA union.

"We repudiate these acts," Federico Beligoy, the association's secretary general told local Radio 10. "We have to take blunt and adult decisions and we would join any call for a strike that can counteract these acts of violence - that are very serious."

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