Colombia's Pereira strike over unpaid salaries

BOGOTA - Deportivo Pereira have joined in the spate of strikes by Colombian players looking to put pressure on their first division clubs over unpaid salaries.

The Pereira squad signed a letter threatening not to turn out for their home match on Sunday against Cortulua because the club is three and a half months behind with salary payments.

"The money they promised has not appeared so we won't play against Cortulua," team captain Gustavo Victoria told reporters on Friday.

"This situation hurts us a lot but the directors always tell us they'll pay us the next week and they've had us like that for some time," team mate Jhon Viafara added.

Club president Mario Arboleda told local media that if the strike went ahead Pereira would forfeit the points and be sanctioned with a fine. He ruled out fielding an amateur junior side.

Pereira are one from bottom of the Clausura championship with two points from six matches.

Earlier this week, 19 players of Once Caldas ended a two-day strike when their club, South American champions in 2004, agreed to a plan of gradual payment of unpaid salaries.

A strike threat by players of America, one of Colombia's biggest and most successful clubs, met with partial success when they received part of their unpaid salaries but coach Jorge Bermudez, a former Colombia defender, was sacked for backing them.

Caldas and America are also in the bottom half of the Clausura standings.

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