ERIC WEIL in BUENOS AIRES: The Kirchner government not only did nothing against football hooligans, it joined them.

It used them to make the numbers up at their political meetings and other ‘duties’, it formed the Hinchas Argentinos Unidos hooligan group for propaganda purposes and paid for some of them to go to the World Cup in South Africa. Once outgoing President Cristina Kirchner said that hooligans were ‘part of Argentina’s soccer folklore’.

Every now and then announcements were made about new laws to get rid of the Barras Bravas which were never implemented. But what would have been the use if the existing ones were not applied against hooligans?

Many court cases against hooligans never got anywhere (perhaps under ‘government judges’ ) and even the Argentine football association’s AFAPlus method of buying soccer match admission tickets,which never got off the ground in eight years, was designed in a way that would not have kept hooligans out.

The presidential candidates in last Sunday’s elections, who in their campaign spent more time criticizing their opponents than saying how they would fix the country — probably they did not know! — and did not say anything about hooligans until they were asked.

Candidates’ views

Argentina faces a run-off election next November 22 after neither leading candidate gained enough votes for an outright win.

Daniel Scioli, Kirchner’s choice, is a former powerboat racer who still plays indoor. He has said he will announce laws against hooligans – that’s what they all said – and will form a Tourism and Sports Ministry.

Mauricio Macri, now the likely favourite and who also plays indoor soccer, says  the state should take charge of security but should this not always have been the case?

When he was president of Boca Juniors from 1995 to 2005, the club was successful sportswise while its hooligan gang grew in power.

The outlook is not hopeful.