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Mexican women’s football pioneer Marbella Ibarra killed

One of the main promoters of women’s football in Mexico, Marbella Ibarra has been killed, media reports said on Thursday.

Ibarra, 44, fought hard for women’s football to be recognised and played a key role in the creation of the professional women’s league in 2017.

She was the founder of Mexico’s first professional women’s football team, Xolas de Tijuana.

Her body was recovered on Monday with torture marks. Her hands and feet had been tied and she had been severely beaten. She was found wrapped in plastic sheeting in a beach resort south of Tijuana. She is believed to have been killed on Friday, police said.

Ibarra was missing since September and her family believed she was kidnapped. The motive behind her murder is unclear, an official said.

A post-mortem is scheduled, but the case was already being treated as murder, the BBC reported. Police said they think her murder is unrelated to her role as a coach and a football promoter, the BBC said.

Ibarra had not been a player herself but used her income from a beauty salon she ran to first fund an amateur women’s team, Isamar FC.

She then founded the professional team Xolas de Tijuana, which first played across the border in the US women’s league as there was no professional women’s league in Mexico at the time.

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