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Chilean football season ended early amid protests

Universidad Catolica retained the league title following the season's early finish.

The Chilean football season has been ended early following a meeting of the Council of Presidents of Chilean professional football clubs on Friday.

The decision was taken due to fears about security in the country, following anti-government protests over inequality which have been taking place for six weeks.

It's the first time in its 86-year history that Chile's professional leagues have not been complete, as football continued to be played even with the 1973 Chilean coup d'état.

A statement from the Chile's national football league read: "The Council of Presidents of Chilean professional football association approved on Friday with 42 votes of a possible 48, to end the 2019 season in the Primera Division, Primera B and Segunda Division owing to circumstances beyond our control."

The decision covers both the Chilean Primera division and Primera B division and has seen Universidad Catolica, who were 13 points clear at the top of the table with six games remaining, named champions.

Universidad Catolica president Juan Tagle, who voted against the tournament ending early, told the club's website: "It's not the way we would have wanted to win the title but I hope everyone recognises that we are the legitimate champions. The gap that we had was the biggest ever taken by a team in long tournaments were three points were awarded per game. There is a bitter sweet feeling. Without a doubt it's a sad day for Chilean football to have had to end the tournament like this."

In addition, it was decided that there would be no relegation or promotion from either division. That means that University of Chile avoided a first demotion since 1989 and Santiago Wanderers, who were three points clear at the top of the second division with three games remaining will miss out on promotion.

When violence first broke out six weeks ago all matches were suspended. And earlier in November the Copa Libertadores final between Flamengo and River Plate was moved to Peru from Chile due to the unrest in the Chilean capital of Santiago.

Later in November, Chilean national team players opted against playing a friendly vs. Peru due to the demonstrations.

Meanwhile, a proposal to combine the first and second divisions was not voted in, meaning they will remain as two separate 16-team divisions.

On Dec. 6, the presidents of the clubs will meet in an extraordinary council to approve the dates for the 2020 season.

ESPN FC's Adriana Garcia contributed to this report

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