Referee dines with team officials, sparks scandal in Argentina

Buenos Aires: Incriminating photographs of a referee dining at a restaurant with the officials of a football team the day before a game has sparked a scandal in Argentina.

Referee Mauro Giannini was seen dining out Saturday night in the Argentine city of San Francisco, in Cordoba province, with the treasurer and other officials of Atletico Tucuman, prior to Sunday's second-division match between Atletico and San Francisco's Sportivo Belgrano, reports Xinhua.

Local media Tuesday said that Giannini's refereeing did not unduly influence the outcome of the game, which Atletico won 3-1.

It's not the first time, however, that Giannini has come under scrutiny for refereeing in favour of Atletico, and to the detriment of Belgrano.

Reporter Federico Sottano, of Radio FM San Francisco, who took the photographs, said he was accosted by both the referee and the officials at the time.

"Be careful about what you're going to do, don't turn us in with our hands tied behind our backs," Atletico's treasurer warned, according to Sottano.

The referee, according to Sottano, called him a "buffoon", and demanded to know why he was taking photographs.

"I'm not bothering you, so why are you bothering me?" Sottano cited the referee as saying.

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