Police in Argentina are searching for a footballer who is said to have shot and killed a referee after being sent off in a match played in the Córdoba province.

According to local reports, the player retrieved a gun from his bag after being shown a red card, returned to the pitch and shot 48-year-old César Flores dead.

A police source told the Efe news agency: “It all happened during the football match. We don’t know [exactly what took place], but it appears the player was angry, fetched a gun and killed him.”

Local reports said Flores was shot three times, in the head, chest and neck, while another player, Walter Zárate, was injured, but is understood to be out of danger.

Authorities in Argentina continue to struggle with violence in football. In June last year a match between Ferro and Tiro Federal was abandoned after a played punched a referee unconscious after being shown a yellow card.

Last month, five players were sent off during a friendly between River Plate and Boca Juniors. The referee Patricio Loustau booked nine others during the game.