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Added February 22nd, 2016 by Ian

Argentine soccer player guns down referee

Unfortunately for fans, players and officials, football and violence go hand in hand down in Argentina. The latest revolting incident saw a player gun down a referee on Valentine’s Day after he was sent off the pitch with a red card. The nation’s police are now hunting down the murderer after he killed a match referee during an amateur game held in the province of Cordoba. Local media and police reports said the unidentified player took a gun out of his athletic bag after being dismissed with the red card.

The disgruntled player then returned to the field of play and shot the 48-year-old referee Cesar Flores dead by aiming three bullets at his chest, neck and head. A spokesperson from the local police department told Argentine media, “It all happened during the football match. We don’t know exactly what took place, but it appears the player was angry, fetched a gun and killed him.”

As well as Flores being fatally shot, a 25-year-old player named Walter Zarate suffered injuries during the incident, but he’s expected to survive. Violence in football is nothing new in Argentina. A contest between Tiro Federal and Ferro was called off last June when a player attacked the referee and knocked him unconscious after being issued a yellow card for a bad tackle. And just a few weeks ago a total of five players were sent off with red cards during a supposedly friendly match between top professional teams Boca Juniors and River Plate. In addition, nine other players were handed yellow cards during the match.

According to a study by the New York Times, a total of 257 people will killed due to football violence between the years 1924 and 2011. The majority of those deaths have occurred over the past 20 years. Many fans no longer feel safe attending games in Argentina and families are rarely seen at stadiums these days. Authorities tried to solve the problem of violence at professional contests by banning away fans, but made the mistake of reversing the decision a few years ago.

However, home fans have been known to fight amongst themselves at games and damage their home stadiums. Most of the violence has been attributed to team-related gangs known as barra bravas who often have ties to club management as well as local police departments and politicians. Some barra bravas, which typically consist of several hundred members, have been accused of murdering union workers in the past. They’ve also been accused of scalping tickets, selling drugs and taking money from player transfers.

 
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