In the wake of the World Cup, just when interest in football is at a fevered pitch, the Ecuadorian Football Players’ Association is calling a strike to collect back pay.
According to association vice president Edwin Tenorio, the strike begins at midnight on Wednesday. Tenorio says that the issue is more than money and involves an “intolerable level of disrespect” for professional football players from team owners. He says the decision is “irreversible and indefinite,” and resolution depends on payment of arrears.
The governing body of Ecuadorian football, the Ecuadorian Football Federation, has not responded to the strike threat.
It is the second player strike threat in eight months. A December strike was averted when teams came up with funds to pay players.
The players’ association says it is also concerned about federation teams fulfilling their oblibations to government authorities such as the IESS and SRI. “We don’t know what’s happening with these things but they affect the players if the teams are not in compliance,” Tenorio.
Tenorio and other representatives for the players say they stand ready to meet with federation officials but say no meeting has been set. There is, however, a meeting scheduled today with Ecuador’s Minister of Labor Carlos Carrasco.
According to players, Ecuador’s championship tournament play is suspended until further notice.
Three tourists die in Montañita undertow
Three Quito tourists drowned Saturday at Montañita, the result of a strong undertow that dragged 11 swimmers to deep water.
Montañita Police Chief Washington Mendez said he responded to a Ecu-911 call for help and cleared the beach as quickly as possible. He said boats recovered the dead swimmers.
Montañita is considered one of the most dangerous beaches in Ecuador due its proximity to a rock outcrop and many tourist guides warn swimmers and surfers of the danger. A local hotel owner says that about 50 people have drowned at Montañita in the last 20 years.
The town does not post lifeguards on the beach.
Ecuador stands by Assange after failed appeal
Ecuadorian Foreign Affairs Minister Ricardo Patino has reaffirmed his country’s support for embattled WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange last week, after he lost his appeal to have his Swedish arrest order overturned.
Patino said Ecuador will continue to protect the rights of Assange, who has been trapped inside the country’s embassy in London for two years.
“The government of Ecuador will not abandon its commitment to safeguard the human rights of Julian Assange until he arrives at a safe place,” Patino said via Twitter.
Assange had been granted political asylum by Ecuador, but is unable to leave the embassy due to an arrest warrant issued by a Swedish court for his alleged role in two sexual assault cases. He denies the charges and claims they are politically motivated.
Patino’s comment came after a Swedish court struck down an appeal by Assange’s lawyers and ruled to uphold the arrest order.
The Swedish court insists the British should arrest the anti-secrecy activist and extradite him to Sweden for questioning, but Assange fears the real objective is to hand him over to authorities in the U.S., where the government would try him for crimes against the state for revealing confidential documents.