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By ESPN Staff

Argentina to investigate Gimnasia death threats

BUENOS AIRES, Nov 9 (Reuters) - Argentine authorities arebinvestigating allegations that Gimnasia-La Plata players received death threats from their own supporters, who demanded the team lose a key match on Wednesday.

'We have received various reports and we will be interviewing the players, the technical staff and the directors,' public prosecutor Marcelo Romero told Argentine television on Thursday.

The sports daily Ole said players were ordered to lose to Boca Juniors because a win would have helped the title hopes of their arch-rivals Estudiantes.

Boca scored four times in 45 minutes to win 4-1 on Wednesday as they completed a game which was abandoned at halftime on Sept 10. with Gimnasia 1-0 ahead.

The first match was halted when referee Daniel Gimenez said he had been threatened in his dressing room by Gimnasia president Juan Jose Munoz.

On Wednesday, Gimnasia conceeded two goals in the first five minutes as they capitulated.

The result meant that Estudiantes, Gimnasia's arch-rivals in the city of La Plata, fell four points behind Boca in the table with five matches each to play.

Romero said the players would be summoned to give evidence.

'There are general suspicions that the club's barra (hardcore supporters) went to the team's headquarters to intimidate them,' he said. 'The most important thing will be the declarations of the victims, the players.

'We hope they will tell the truth.'

Mario Gallina, head of the Buenos Aires provincial government's department for security at sporting events, described the newspaper report as incisive.

'The Gimnasia players should have reported this before the game,' he told reporters. 'It's possible they were afraid.

'But while we continue to be afraid, these things will continue to happen.'

Ole said that around 20 supporters, four of whom were armed, entered the players' quarters on Tuesday night and told them that Boca had to win.

Argentine football has been plagued by off-field problems this year.

Two first division games have been suspended because of violence since August and another was postponed at 48 hours' notice last month because of a row over a court ruling on hooliganism.

The clubs are frequently criticised for their close association with the barras bravas, who are often given privileges such as free tickets to home games and transport to away games.