November 7, 2008 / 10:01 PM / 10 years ago

Soccer-Peru loses under-20 tournament over domestic dispute

ASUNCION, Nov 7 (Reuters) - Peru was stripped of the right to host next year’s South American under-20 championship on Friday because of a long-running dispute between the government and the country’s football federation.

South American Football Confederation (CSF) spokesman Nestor Benitez said the tournament would instead take place in Venezuela, which hosted last year’s senior Copa America.

Benitez said the Peruvian government had refused to support the hosting of the tournament because of its row with the football federation (FPF).

The government’s Institute of Sports (IPD) said it did not recognise Manuel Burga as the legitimate president of the FPF. Peruvian media said soccer’s world governing body FIFA had threatened to suspend Peru if the situation was not cleared up.

The dispute has caused an outcry in Peru where the public and media are already exasperated at the failings of the national team.

Once of South America’s strongest sides in the 1970s and early 1980s, Peru have not qualified for a World Cup since 1982 and are bottom of the qualifying group for the 2010 tournament.

Peru’s German-based striker Claudio Pizarro, who has been dropped because of allegations of indiscipline which he denies, said he did not see any sign of an improvement.

“Regrettably, the FPF’s system is rotten and I’ve been saying this for a long time,” he told Peruvian media.

“As long as they don’t settle this dispute, I don’t believe we can get good results.”

Writing by Brian Homewood in Buenos Aires; editing by Ken Ferris

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