Uruguay players threaten to go on strike ahead of World Cup qualifiers

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Rio de Janeiro, Aug 24: Uruguay's footballers could go on strike ahead of the national team's upcoming World Cup qualifiers against Argentina and Paraguay, according to reports in the local media.

According to Uruguayan newspaper El Pais on Tuesday, several players have threatened to boycott the matches if the Uruguayan Football Association (AUF) does not sign a multimillion-dollar sponsorship deal with sportswear manufacturer Nike.

Luis Suarez (top) celebrates with his Uruguayan team mates

The newspaper reported that the AUF is under pressure to commit to a deal that is four times less lucrative with Puma, said to be the favoured company of local television rights holder Tenfield.

Another report in the Ovacion newspaper said senior national team players, including strikers Edinson Cavani and Luis Suarez, are seeking to "democratise all structures within the AUF."

Uruguay are currently top of the South American zone qualifying standings for the 2018 World Cup in Russia with 13 points from six matches, reports Xinhua.

The Celeste will travel to Mendoza to play Argentina on September 1 before hosting Paraguay five days later.

IANS

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