Latin America & Caribbean

Argentina weekend football matches postponed amid strike

Argentina's Racing Club supporters cheer during their Copa Sudamericana football match against Colombia's Rionegro Aguilas Image copyright AFP
Image caption The summer break has now been extended to over two months because of the crisis

All of the weekend football matches in Argentina's top three divisions have been postponed amid a players' strike over delayed salary payments.

The players' union say some clubs are facing a major financial crisis and have not paid them for five months.

Argentina's troubled football association says negotiations have progressed and the season will resume on Friday.

But players say they will nor turn up for league matches until they are paid.

A major corruption investigation implicating senior football officials last year triggered the current crisis.

On Friday afternoon, the Argentine Football Association (AFA) postponed two matches - Rosario Central v Godoy Cruz, in the city of Rosario, and San Lorenzo v Belgrano, in Buenos Aires.

Later it announced that talks with the union had collapsed and that all 13 other matches from the top division, known as Primera A, had been postponed.

Second and third division matches were also called off. Only non-professional footballers from the fourth division will be playing this weekend.

Image copyright AP
Image caption The AFA's former head, Luis Segura, stood down after he was charged with fraud in June 2016

The crisis began after senior officials at the Argentine Football Association (AFA) were implicated in a corruption scandal involving television broadcasting rights.

The season should have resumed a month ago after the summer break. But it has been extended because of the crisis.

To try to avoid the strike, the government of Mauricio Macri made a $22m (£18m) payment on Thursday to the AFA.

The money was owed as compensation for the cancellation of a contract with the government, which held the broadcasting rights until this year.

But the players' union said the money was not enough.

They said most club presidents had spent and borrowed more money than they should have.

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