ERIC WEIL in BUENOS AIRES: Government auditors, checking up on television rights payments to the Argentinian football association between 2009 and 2012,  found that 179 million pesos [£13m] vanished without trace.

Cabinet chief Aníbal Fernández responded to the revelation by describing it as a lie.

Fernandez has been a close confident of former President Nestor Kirchner and current President Cristina Fernández de Kirchner. He is also a well-known and influential fan of the Quilmes club.

But this was not the only mystery surrounding the TV cash.

Since receiving much more money for TV than ever before, club debts have increased enormously with some it apparently being diverted into the wrong pockets – such as their hooligans.

Last November Judge Servini de Cubria started investigating the route of the funds that the government spends on the Futbol para Todos project and seized the accounts books of 25 leading clubs.

Six months later nothing has been heard about her investigations.

Last week, even more confusingly, the AFA published a detailed report from Buenos Aires University which purported to counter the common belief that TV money and players sales make up the principal income of clubs.

Cash flow

The report, produced under Dr Ariel Colemberg, said that on average only 29pc of clubs’ income comes from TV rights and the sale of players represents only seven per cent.

Marketing and sponsors bring in 19pc; the remaining 45pc comes from club membership fees and match ticket sales (which could,of course, be increased greatly by not giving away so many to the hooligan gangs).

Mauricio Macri, the former Boca Juniors president turned Buenos Aires Mayor, said recently that, if he becomes president, he would halt Futbol para Todos.

This will not gain him votes. Quite the reverse.

Perhaps he should merely have suggested that, if he comes to power, he would review whether enough money exists to finance the programme.