ERIC WEIL in BUENOS AIRES: Argentina’s experiment of letting away fans back into stadia is continuing with certain matches chosen every weekend, although sometimes the choice appears misjudged.
However the experiment is a waste of time because the issue is not keeping out visiting fans out keeping out hooligans – which has never been even tried.
An incident in Mar del Plata, which nearly halted the experiment, was sparked by a hooligan not a visiting fan.
Many clubs are not interested in welcoming back away fans back and although this is against the essence of the game, they have a point from their point of view (which is money, money, money).
Although these clubs have always pretended they supported the idea of having visiting fans back, that is not what they really wanted. They say that they can fill their stadiums all the same without them.
Some stadia are too small for the top division and others, such as Boca Juniors (capacity 55,000) have so many club members hat they could fill their stadium twice with members only. On the other hand, they do not have to share the gate money with the visiting club while also paying less for fewer police surveillance.
Argentina played badly and deservedly lost 2-0 against Ecuador last week as qualifying matches began for the 2018 World Cup in Russia.
Four key players dropped out with injuries and a fifth key man (Sergio Aguero) had to leave the pitch injured after 19 minutes. Now a sixth injured player (Biglia) is not likely to be available against Paraguay.
Talk in the run-up had been about Tevez being left out because he would not fit into coach Tata Martino’s playing plan.
The nature of that plan was is difficult to imagine and, anyway, Tevez had to come on after 19 minutes for Aguero.
He could not save the team, but then it is doubtful if even the much-vaunted injured Messi could have done it either.