Friday 24 November 2017

President kicks foe in soccer game

Bolivia's President Evo Morales shows the injury caused by a player of a rival team during a friendly soccer match (AP)
Bolivia's President Evo Morales shows the injury caused by a player of a rival team during a friendly soccer match (AP)

Bolivian president Evo Morales kneed an opposing player in the groin during a football match against a team of political rivals after an apparent hard foul by the opponent, images of the altercation show.

In video aired by local stations and posted to YouTube, the player is seen collapsing to the ground after Mr Morales walks up to him and knees him during Sunday's game against a team led by La Paz Mayor Luis Revilla, a former Morales ally who turned against the president earlier this year

Witnesses said Sunday's bitterly fought game, whose final score was 4-4, ended with two players from each side being sent off.

Mr Morales was not among those dismissed, but the player who fouled him was.

Members of Mr Morales' security contingent tried to arrest the player, Daniel Gustavo Cartagena, immediately after the match but Mr Revilla interceded.

Word spread about the on-field altercation after Mr Morales mentioned it.

He said Mr Cartagena came at him studs-up when he had the ball, tearing the skin on his right leg. The president denied ordering Mr Cartagena's arrest.

In a medical bulletin, the presidential palace said Mr Morales received a laceration on the inside of the right leg and that three to four days of rest had been recommended for the president.

However, Mr Morales had gone to work as usual on Monday.

The popular leftist president, an ethnic Aymara and former coca-growers' union leader, was first elected in December 2005 and recently declared that he intends to run again in 2014.

Press Association

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