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Uruguay soccer leaders quit in fan violence crisis

AP - Sports

MONTEVIDEO, Uruguay (AP) -- Uruguayan soccer has lost its leadership with little more than two months left before the World Cup.

The entire executive committee of the Uruguayan Football Association quit Monday in a crisis that also involves President Jose Mujica and the soccer players' union.

Mujica abruptly withdrew police protection from the home stadiums of Penarol and Nacional, the country's most popular teams, on Thursday after Nacional's fans injured 40 police officers in post-game violence the night before. The federation and its clubs decided to play Saturday's games anyway, but the players pulled out Sunday, saying they won't be safe without police.

FIFA rules are designed to protect football from political intervention. To make governments back down in conflicts over soccer, the league can league threaten suspension from international football matches and meetings.

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