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Uruguayan footballers threaten to strike

© Reuters 2002

MONTEVIDEO, Oct 17 (Reuters) - Uruguayan footballers are threatening to follow the example of their colleagues in Chile and Argentina and go on strike in protest at unpaid wages.

The players' union say their members owed the equivalent of around $190,000 and will make their decision after studying an offer from the Uruguayan Football Association (AUF) and the Tenfield marketing company, which owns local television rights.

"If the players don't accept the proposal, we might not compete until wages are up to date," warned players' union president Fernando Silva.

Players are Uruguayan champions Nacional are continuing with their own "go slow" because they say they have not been paid for five months.

The players are refusing to take part in more than one training session a day - twice daily practice is common in Uruguay - and are boycotting the so-called "concentration" in which players spend the 24 hours before a match holed up in a hotel or training camp.

A deep financial crisis has hit football in nearly all of South America, where many clubs face a daily grind to make ends meet.

Chilean footballers went on strike for three weeks in September while Argentina's players held two strikes last year in protest at unpaid wages and bonuses.

Several Bolivian clubs have also been hit by lightning stoppages, forcing them to postpone matches in the national championship.

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