Luis DiazGetty

‘Football is passion in peace’ - Authorities responsible for Luis Diaz’s father's release hailed by Colombian Football Federation

The National Liberation Army (ELN) guerrilla organisation kidnapped the father of Liverpool football player Luis Diaz in Colombia, and he was released after 13 days. The Colombian military, the UN, and the Catholic Church conducted an operation that resulted in Luis Manuel Diaz's release from the ELN, the government said on Thursday. "We are happy to announce Luis Manuel Díaz's release," a government peace mission declared. "He made it back to his family and his community safely."

On Thursday, Diaz was flown by helicopter to the neighbouring city of Valledupar from his captivity in the Serrania de Perija mountain range near the Venezuelan border.

The Colombian Football Federation (FCF) released a statement on Thursday morning that thanked the authorities involved with the rescue. The statement read: "The Colombian Football Federation thanks the National Government, the Military and National Police Forces, as well as all the institutions and officials who made possible the release of Luis Manuel Diaz, father of our player Luis Diaz."

Article continues below

"Football as a sporting discipline symbolizes the talent, dedication, teamwork and intrinsic values of the human being. In Colombia, it must continue to be a reference of entertainment, healthy competition, union and joy."

"Therefore, we insist on the need to maintain this activity, as well as those involved in it, in the sports, administrative part and their families, regardless of any scenario other than sports. Behind a ball, the dreams and illusions of children, young people, women, men and adults, their relatives and a whole country roll."

"Football is a passion in peace, let no one ever think of it, attack that reality again."