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Mexican referee on hunger strike outside federation offices in protest at 'racism'

Headquarters of the Mexican Football Federation (Femefut) in Toluca
Headquarters of the Mexican Football Federation (Femexfut) in Toluca.

Mexican referee Adalid Maganda has begun a hunger strike outside the headquarters of the country's Football Federation (Femexfut) in protest at his dismissal.

After being sacked in April, Maganda attempted to return to his job but did not reach an agreement with the country's referees commission for his reinstatement.

The 34-year-old, who originates from the town of Huehuetan in the state of Guerrero, accused the referee commission of racism and discrimination. He said Arturo Brizio, president of that commission, insulted him for both his skin color and his height.

The last game Maganda took part in was on Jan. 16 as a fourth official. He has set up camp outside the Femexfut headquarters and is refusing to eat until he gets his job back.

"I'm not fighting for money," Maganda told local media. "I'm just fighting for fairness and dignity.

"I want my job back as what I achieved I earned by putting in a lot of effort on the pitch, without getting any gifts from anyone. They are the ones to blame for being racists."

On Wednesday, Femexfut officials told Maganda that they will meet with him to hear his complaints. Maganda also confirmed to ESPN that he and his lawyer will attend the meeting and will not leave until there is some type of resolution

Maganda said he has no choice but to go on a hunger strike.

"We have taken this decision because the Federation has taken us for a ride since this [process] began," he said. "In the first hearing, I was told I would not get my job back, then in the second, they said that I would but only officiate in the second division and in the third, they told me I would get to referee in the first division but that they didn't know when that would be.

"They are the ones to blame for being racists."

In October, Maganda told ESPN Mexico that Brizio had not attended the hearings as "he was afraid because he knows what he did. The evidence is there."

Maganda's final audience was on Tuesday and Brizio was again not in attendance.

"We have not received any response," he said. "They only told us that neither the president nor the secretary were there but we will be here until someone from the Femexfut receives us."

Maganda has the support of family and friends, who have protested with banners that read: "Justice for Adalid."

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