Mujica agrees to restore police protection

LEONARDO HABERKORN Associated Press Published:

MONTEVIDEO, Uruguay (AP) -- Uruguay President Jose Mujica has agreed to restore police protection to domestic football matches, provided clubs sign a FIFA agreement that deducts points from those involved in hooligan violence.

Mujica met Tuesday with first-division club officials to finalize the arrangement.

"The clubs will vote on it this week," said Homero Guerrero, the presidential secretary.

Mujica withdrew police protection Thursday from the home stadiums of popular clubs Penarol and Nacional after Nacional fans injured 40 police officers in post-game violence the night before.

The entire executive committee of the Uruguay Football Association resigned Monday in the wake of Mujica's suspension of police protection. They are expected to be replaced on a provisional basis, but officials said the move would not affect Uruguay's participation in the World Cup, which opens June 12 in Brazil.

Football-related violence is endemic in much of Latin America, and Mujica is one of the few political leaders in the region who has dared to confront the clubs and hooligan gangs involved. The problem is particularly bad in neighboring Argentina, and is a growing problem in Brazil.

The withdrawal of security forced Uruguay clubs to handle security, or cancel matches and lose game revenue.