Jara under probe as Chilean faces club sack

BERLIN - German football club Mainz are ready to offload Gonzalo Jara after the Chile international whipped up a storm at the Copa America by sticking his finger up the backside of an opponent before falling to the floor theatrically when his victim retaliated.

Television images showed the 29-year-old defender, who has a contract until next year, prodding Uruguayan striker Edinson Cavani during Chile's 1-0 victory in Santiago on Wednesday.

Cavani reacted by pushing Jara away with the back of his hand but the Chilean fell to the ground as if he had been punched.

The Brazilian referee showed Cavani his second yellow card of the game and sent him off.

"He knows that if an offer comes, he can go," Mainz sports director Christian Heidel told Germany's Bild newspaper yesterday. "We do not tolerate that. More than the prod, however, it is what comes afterwards that makes me angry. I hate theatrics more than anything."

Heidel was not alone in condemning Jara. Players and coaches have lined up to slam the defender, who could be thrown out of the tournament for his actions.

Argentina coach Gerardo Martino also expressed sympathy for Cavani, whose father was arrested earlier this week for his part in a fatal traffic accident.

"Particularly when you consider it was Cavani, and all the other problems he's had this week, it was shameful," he said. "There is absolutely no justification for it whatsoever."

Colombia coach Jose Pekerman also decried Jara's actions, saying the move had tarnished the image of the sport.

"We all want to win and there is pressure on everyone to win, but the contest has to be noble," he said. "Football is a sport that the whole world watches. There are certain rules that must be respected."

Former Uruguay captain Diego Lugano had a menacing warning for Jara in a message on Twitter.

"I'll have to speak to that little Jara character when we bump into each other one day!" he wrote.

"Sandro Ricci's refereeing performance was a total, utter disgrace."

Jara probably will face a hearing today, where his fate will be decided by Conmebol's disciplinary committee.

The South American football body has already shown its willingness to act against disciplinary breaches in the 12-team tournament. Brazil's star striker Neymar received a four-game ban for a clash after his team's 0-1 loss to Colombia in the group stage.

REUTERS, AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE, BLOOMBERG

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on June 27, 2015, with the headline 'Jara under probe as Chilean faces club sack'. Print Edition | Subscribe