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Anger over covered Falklands map at Argentina's Malvinas stadium

Anger over covered Falklands map at Argentina's Malvinas stadium

May 24, 2023 (AFP)

Irate Argentine officials Wednesday ordered the uncovering of a map of the Falklands islands, whose ownership it disputes with Britain, at a stadium hosting matches of the Under-20 World Cup.

The map, in the form of a logo, is a permanent feature at the stadium of Malvinas, the same name by which Argentina calls the islands over which they fought a bloody war with Britain in 1982.

But during a match played at the stadium on Tuesday, it was noticed the map had been covered, igniting a flood of condemnation.

Early Wednesday, the foreign ministry's Falklands secretariat issued a statement demanding an explanation from the government of the Mendoza province that hosts the stadium.

The Falklands war veterans body also denounced "an act of betrayal and disrespect" in a note to the Argentine Football Association (AFA).

Within hours, the government of Mendoza ordered that FIFA banners be removed from the map logo and an Argentine flag on either side of a big screen and electronic score board.

"FIFA's inadvertent error was corrected," Mendoza governor Rodolfo Suarez wrote on his official Twitter account.

The stadium, some 1,000 kilometers (621 miles) west of Buenos Aires, was built for the 1978 World Cup and initially named after the province.

But four years later, shortly after the end of the war over the islands, it was renamed.

Argentina claims the islands off the Patagonian coast as its own, and in 1982 sent soldiers to take the territory.

Britain sent nearly 30,000 troops halfway round the world to repel the Argentines.

The war lasted 74 days and left more than 900 dead -- 649 Argentine and 255 British soldiers as well as three island inhabitants.

Britain emerged victorious, but the campaign left a deep wound, despite diplomatic and economic ties recovering since then.

England are not expected to play any matches at the stadium.

Several weeks ago, Argentines were also angered by reports that FIFA had asked for the stadium to be named Mendoza for purposes of the tournament.

The province denied such a request was being considered.


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