By Carlos Calvo
MEXICO CITY (Reuters) – Two South American players with top Mexican clubs were banned for a year by the country’s soccer federation on Monday after a review of lesser punishments handed down to them last week that sparked a referees strike.
Club America’s Paraguay defender Pablo Aguilar and Toluca’s Argentine forward Enrique Triverio had received 10 and eight match bans respectively after each player attacked the referee in separate games last week.
Aguilar attempted to head butt referee Fernando Hernandez and screamed insults at him after America lost 1-0 to Tijuana in a Copa MX match. Triverio pushed and insulted referee Miguel Flores in Toluca’s defeat by Morelia.
The Mexican Football Federation (FMF) announced the new suspensions after its Disciplinary Committee reviewed the earlier sanctions that were at the heart of a row with the country’s Liga MX referees.
FMF president Decio de Maria said America and Toluca could not appeal in Mexico against the suspensions.
“They will have to appeal internationally. A suspension of this magnitude applies worldwide,” he told reporters.
The federation said the two players would also be fined.
The Mexican referees’ association said the initial punishments were too lenient and went on strike, with the weekend’s first division fixtures called off.
“The Appeals Committee has decided to revoke the sanctions imposed by the Disciplinary Committee on 10 March 2017 with regard to the players Enrique Triverio and Pablo Aguilar,” the FMF statement said.
“In their place, it has decided to sanction the players with a year’s suspension.”
The referees immediately called off their strike ahead of quarter-finals in the Copa MX, a knockout competition played by first and second division clubs, on Tuesday.
The referees association acknowledged the decision, saying in a statement the FMF had “set a precedent so that it is order and respect that prevails on the field of play.
“From this moment we return to work on the pitches giving our best efforts to achieve tournaments of a high standard.”
(Writing by Rex Gowar in Buenos Aires; Editing by Ken Ferris)