Peru player jailed for helping thieves rob club

LIMA - A Peruvian football player was sentenced to seven years in prison on Thursday for helping thieves steal money from first division club Cienciano two years ago.

Cesar Ccahuantico, a 30-year-old who played in midfield for Cienciano between 2001-08, helped thieves who stole $84,500 meant for players' wages, court sources in the Andean city of Cusco said.

Four masked men stole the money from the club's premises in March 2008 and police found later that one of them had called Ccahuantico eight times on his mobile phone before and after the robbery.

Ccahuantico helped Cienciano beat Argentina's River Plate in the final of the Copa Sudamericana in 2003 to lift Peru's first international trophy.

The club have fallen on hard times and are in debt to their players, who raise money organising car raffles. They are 10th in the championship standings on 32 points, 27 behind leaders San Martin after 27 matches.

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