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By ESPN Staff
Sep 14, 2006

Gimnasia president goes on leave over alleged threats

BUENOS AIRES, Sept 13 (Reuters) - The president of Argentine first division club Gimnasia-La Plata has voluntarily gone on leave after his alleged threats to a referee forced a match to be abandoned at half time on Sunday.

Juan Jose Munoz said he would step aside until the Argentine Football Association (AFA) reached a final decision.

Gimnasia's match at home to Argentine championship leaders Boca Juniors was called off on Sunday after Munoz went in to the dressing room of referee Daniel Gimenez.

Boca officials said that Munoz, accompanied by a group of unidentified men, had threatened the referee, prompting him to abandon the match. Munoz has denied making any threat, though he admits going into the dressing-room.

"I will accept the (final) decision of this committee (the AFA's executive committee) and I will not appeal," Munoz told Argentine television.

"I made a mistake by speaking to the referee but I didn't have any second intentions...I regret going into the referee's changing room."

The Argentine news agency Diarios y Noticias said Munoz could face a ban of up to two years.

Gimnasia, who had six players booked and coach Pedro Troglio sent off in the first half, were leading 1-0 thanks to a controversial penalty.

Boca, the reigning Argentine champions, were aiming for their 13th consecutive domestic win.

Gimenez, a hard line official known as the Sergeant, has not commented on the incident.

Munoz, a former fruit seller turned businessman, took over as Gimnasia president in December 2004 with the promise of helping them win their first Argentine title.

They were within one match of winning last year's Apertura championship before losing the leadership to Boca Juniors.

Sunday's match was the fifth first division game in Argentina which has failed to finish this year. The other four were all suspended because of crowd violence.

The AFA have yet to make a decision on the outcome of the game but are expected to order the second half to be played on a new date rather than re-starting the game from scratch.

The match was Boca's last under Alfio Basile, who is taking over as coach of the Argentine national side.