Tribunal upholds Penarol violence punishments

March 29, 2006

MONTEVIDEO, March 29 (Reuters) - Uruguayan soccer authorities have confirmed their decision to dock 12 points from Penarol after a gang of the club's supporters stabbed a rival fan to death outside the Centenario stadium.

Thirty-five-year-old Hector da Cunha, a supporter of Cerro, was attacked at a bus stop by a gang of some 15 Penarol supporters after the two sides met on March 11.

Police said that da Cunha, who was with his wife and child, died in hospital after being beaten and stabbed.

Uruguayan football's disciplinary tribunal upheld the decision to deduct points from Penarol at a hearing late on Tuesday.

Cerro also had six points deducted after a group of their fans stabbed and injured a 17-year-old Penarol supporter in a separate incident on the same day.

As a result, Penarol, one of Uruguay's two big clubs alongside Nacional, slipped to bottom of the Clausura championship with minus six points from four games. Cerro are one place above them with minus three.

The decision has caused controversy in Uruguay, with many players and coaches arguing that it was unfair to penalise the teams for incidents outside the stadium.

The Uruguayan championship was halted immediately after the attack and will resume this weekend with the four matches which had been due to be played on March 12.

The Uruguayan association (AUF) has promised tighter security and clubs have agreed to stop giving free tickets to the organised supporters' groups known as barras bravas, who are often blamed for violence.

"We are still thinking of other things to make Uruguayan football safe," said AUF president Eugenio Figueredo. "It's complicated, but we have to do something to make life better for the supporters."