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 Posted by ESPN Staff
Nov 22, 2006

Away fan ban lifted in Argentinian league

BUENOS AIRES, Nov 22 (Reuters) - The Argentina Football Association (AFA) has lifted a ban which prevented away fans from attending first division games for the rest of the year.

'Football goes back to being the way it was 15 days ago,' said AFA executive committee member and Boca Juniors vice-president Pedro Pompilio after the meeting on Tuesday.

The ban was an initial attempt by the AFA to respond to the violence and intimidation which has plagued Argentine football this season.

It was lifted 24 hours after the players' union said they did not believe the ban was the right way to fight the violence and threatened to go on strike if it continued.

On Sunday, the supporters of Racing Club and San Lorenzo blocked their respective team buses and forced the match between the two sides to be called off.

The fans were unhappy at the decision to play the game behind closed doors after rioting Racing fans caused their derby at Independiente to be abandoned in the 64th minute the previous week.

Two other first division matches have been suspended because of crowd trouble since August. Both were later completed without any punishments being handed out to the respective teams.

In addition, the Gimnasia-Boca Juniors match on Sept 10. was abandoned at halftime after the referee claimed he had been threatened in his dressing-room by the Gimnasia president.

The remaining 45 minutes were played 10 days ago when Gimnasia, leading 1-0 before the re-start, conceded four goals and lost 4-1.

The following day, public prosecutors ordered an investigation into allegations that the Gimnasia players had received death threats from their own supporters, who demanded they throw the game.

The fans wanted to help Boca, the championship leaders, pull clear of Estudiantes, who are Gimnasia's bitter rivals.

On Tuesday, referee Daniel Gimenez told public prosecutors he had noticed a change in attitude on the Gimnasia players between the two halves.

'He said that in the first half of the game, Gimnasia were playing on equal terms with Boca and were clearly determined on winning the game, whereas in the second half, one or two months later, it was completely the opposite,' Marcelo Romero told reporters.