Soccer in Argentina Suspended After Death of Player Emanuel Ortega

All professional soccer matches in Argentina this weekend have been called off out of respect for a fourth-division player who died on Thursday after fracturing his skull more than a week ago.

Argentine soccer officials at first said they would cancel all fourth-division games, but later Thursday said they were calling off all divisions.

Emanuel Ortega, a 21-year-old forward, was playing for San Martin de Burzaco in a match on May 3 when he was pushed by an opponent and struck his head on a concrete pillar used to anchor a fence.

"Everyone agreed to it," said Luis Segura, president of the Argentine Football Association. "One shouldn't play, out of respect for the magnitude of the tragedy. I don't think anyone is in the mood to think about a football match."

Segura deflected questions about stadium security and safety.

"Today is not the time to think about taking (safety) measures," Segura said. "We'll see afterward."

Many matches are played in stadiums ringed by fences and other barriers to separate players and fans. Fan violence threatens almost every match in all divisions in Argentina, where stadiums are old and policing is often lax.

Copyright AP - Associated Press
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