ERIC WEIL in BUENOS AIRES: Chris Walley from the Football Association was here for a week to investigate football hooliganism.

Walley – formally  ‘senior manager, stadia safety and security’ – was here eight years ago for the same reason and his verdict was that now things are worse. This is not news locally.

So were either of his journeys really necessary? The English authorities have had great success in cracking down, intelligently, on hooliganism. Here the whole problem of continual hooliganism is due to collective stupidity.

When Walley was told that 230 hooligans travelled to the 2010 World Cup in South Africa paid by the government and the Argentine FA, he said that was difficult to understand.

When he was told that in 2012, President Cristina Fernandez Kirchner applauded the passion of those same hooligans, he said he had not heard it and it was unbelievable, because no politician in his country would even dare to mention something like that or support hooligans in any way.

Walley gave the usual prescription, often mentioned in this column, that as long as clubs, police, politicians and courts support the hooligans there is just no solution.

A security official from Spain was here a short time ago, came to the same conclusions and offered the same advice. How many more experts will deliver the same story which the authorities here do not want to hear?

What Walley diplomatically did not mention, if he knew, was that of course club officials, police, judges, the Argentine FA (AFA) and politicians in and out of Congress are also deemed criminals together with the hooligans — club officials even for giving them free tickets (which is money stolen from the club).

Examples are River Plate and Boca Juniors, whose so-called “official hooligan gangs) are not on the list of persons banned from entering the stadium while “non-official” hooligans are (which causes fights between them).

Also, police are complicit for not dealing with hooligans as they should, judges for not applying the law on them and politicians, mostly in Congress, for not changing inadequate laws and the AFA, directly involved in soccer, for standing back.

A proposed change of laws is going through Congress at the moment, hotly opposed by opposition parties. Remarkably, it seems that those which would concern hooligans and their supporters would become even more lax.

But why worry about the hooligan problem? The best way is always to blame somebody else. As the AFA´s too-long-serving president Julio Grondona once said: “Journalists are to blame for hooliganism.”

So there.

Calendar confusion

This past week’s so-called ‘international break’ was ignored by Argentina – even though the AFA sent the national team to play in Romania.

Not only were league matches played last weekend but another round of league games was scheduled during the week. This meant that several clubs were playing without some leading players.

While most of Argentina’s national team are foreign-based players Boca Juniors were without Gago and goalkeeper Orion while River Plate lost Balanta and Gutiérrez called up by Colombia.

Newell’s Old Boys were without key men Rodríguez and Banega plus Cáceres (called up by Paraguay) for their difficult match against Vélez Sarsfield. The local league is already a mess with organising matches on different dates and times not convenient for fans. Why make it more so and uneven?

Despite fixture congestion, the AFA is thinking of yet another tournament to be played between top division champions and former champions, while it still has not abandoned the idea of the Super Tournament between 30 clubs.

The latest suggestion is that, during the second half of the year, the 15 National B Division clubs left after three promotions to the top division and four relegated clubs, plus promoted clubs from the National B and Argentine A divisions will play for 10 more places in the top division.

The Super Tournament would be played in two groups of 15 with the winners playing for the title and the losers for relegation although as long as Grondona is at the AFA the crazy relegation system, taking into account points obtained over the last three seasons, will continue.

This columnist thinks it will not help local soccer and lower the standard. But the last word has not been said yet.

Disciplinary depression

Nothing good can be said about the AFA’s disciplinary committee either. Together with the football security committee they make decisions which seem to have no relation to a serious book of rules.

In Europe, Anelka was suspended for five games for making rude gestures. Here, a player commits a bad foul and receives perhaps a yellow card or a one-match suspension.

At home, players fight on the field and are suspended for one or two games.

Yet in Uruguay, nine players were banned for two months and in Brazil they had to play 20 matches away from home for the same offence.

A plank and a wooden placard was thrown at a player at two stadiums (Boca and River). One stadium was closed for a match, but only one stand at an other. One stadium was closed because its fans used fireworks, but nothing happened to another.