At 6:45 p.m. on Nov. 15, Colombia's most prominent soccer referee, Jes�s (Chucho) D�az, and his linesman, Alvaro Ortega, got out of a taxi in front of the Hotel Inter-Continental in Medell�n. They had just officiated a 0-0 tie between Deportivo Independiente Medell�n, a local club in the 15-team Colombia Football Federation—familiarly known as Dimayor—and Am�rica de Cali. Two men emerged from the evening shadows. One shoved D�az aside to safety; the other pulled out an Uzi from under his leather jacket and fired 18 bullets into Ortega. He died instantly.
A police investigation has linked the murder to a $750,000 bet on an Oct. 26 game between the same two teams. Ortega had made two controversial rulings against Medell�n, which lost 3-2. Medell�n is home to the infamous Medell�n cocaine cartel, and suspecting the involvement of drug lords in Colombia's national sport, Dimayor officials announced a week after Ortega's murder that they were suspending the season with a month to play. On Nov. 17, D�az, who had been a soccer official for 16 years, resigned, saying, "Every time I take the playing field, my family is tormented by fear."
And with good reason. In 1983 justice minister Rodrigo Lara said that more than half of Colombia's soccer teams were dominated by organized crime. A year after issuing that statement, Lara was assassinated. At one time Atl�tico Nacional, a second Medell�n-based Dimayor team, was partly owned by Hern�n Botero, who in 1984 became the first Colombian ever extradited for a drug-related crime. He's serving a 30-year sentence in Florida for laundering cocaine profits. Two months ago police found documents linking a top man in the Medell�n cartel with the ownership of the Bogota-based Millonarios, the defending Dimayor champions.
Last year Armando P�rez, a Dimayor referee, was kidnapped outside Medell�n and released after 24 hours with a note that read, "From now on a referee who makes a wrong call will be wiped out." In October three more officials got messages containing bullets and death threats in their hotel boxes.
The Colombian government says it will not permit Dimayor to resume play until every team undergoes a thorough audit and background check on its ownership. That task can't be finished until February, when the 1990 season begins. Atl�tico Nacional is scheduled to play Milan in an Intercontinental Cup match in Tokyo on Dec. 17, though the press in Italy has called for Milan to pull out of the event. "The crisis is not over," says D�az. "It is just beginning."
THE FOUR-COURSE PRESS
University of Georgia basketball players are trained to recognize opposing defenses and execute offensive sets. Earlier this fall, they applied those skills to identifying the salad fork and using a napkin correctly. Debra Lassiter, owner of Perfectly Polished, an institution of higher etiquette in Athens, Ga., had suggested that the Bulldogs might benefit from some schooling in social graces after she had watched a swim team from another university slurp and slog through a meal at a local restaurant. "Basketball players know how to run a pick-and-roll," Lassiter wrote to coach Hugh Durham, "but do they know how to pass the rolls?"
Following a mock session at which Lassiter sported a referee's jersey and blew whistles for sloppy cuts and double dribbling, the Bulldogs took up the gauntlet—and their goblets—for real during a candlelit dinner at Georgia's Center for Continuing Education. There they confronted a repast of salad, pea-and-potato soup, prime rib and coupe � l'orange, as well as six pieces of silverware. The dessert spoon did rattle the Bulldogs worse than a 1-2-2 zone trap; most of them wound up using it to stir their iced tea.
Center Arlando Bennett, wearing a cast on his broken right wrist, had a teammate cut his meat for him. Said Durham to Bennett, "When' you're a low-post player, you always need someone to feed you."