ZURICH: Argentina play Chile this weekend in the final of the Copa America Centenario in the United States in a match serving to draw attention away from an escalating crisis behind the scenes within the AFA writes KEIR RADNEDGE.

The failure of the Argentinian federation to elect a new president, a dispute between the leading clubs the future shape of the league championship and prosecutors’ investigations into the Futbol Para Todos programme have prompted intervention by FIFA.

A ‘normalisation committee’ is being appointed by the world federation to supervise the running of the humiliated AFA in an attempt to head off the possibility of direct government intervention.

Damián Dupiellet, head of the beach football committee, has been named as interim president.

FIFA, in a statement, said the “committee will be in charge of running the daily affairs of the AFA, revising the AFA statutes in order to bring them in line with the current FIFA standard statutes, and organising elections accordingly by June 30, 2017, at the latest.”

A joint delegation from FIFA and the South American confederation CONMEBOL visited Argentina earlier this month.

The normalisation committee will comprise between five and seven members which will “act as an electoral committee and none of its members will be eligible for any of the open positions.”

Earlier this week ‘relegation’ AFA president Luis Segura and three former presidential cabinet directors were indicted over the Futbol Para Todos scandal.

‘Football For All’ was a formula created in 2009 under the last President Cristina Kirchner, in negotiations with late AFA boss Julio Grondona, by which the government paid TV rights fees beyond whatever commercial sponsors could offer.

The money was supposed to be used to cut club debts and help finance anti-hooligan measures. Neither occurred.

Now Segura, as well Kirchner’s cabinet heads Anibal Fernandez, Jorge Capitanich and Juan Abal Medina, and six former AFA directors, have been summoned for investigation by Judge Maria Servini de Cubria.

Argentina’s state President Mauricio Macri, who was elected late last year, had promised not to renew the scheme when current contracts expire in 2019.

Macri is a former president of Boca Juniors, along with rivals River Plate the country’s most popular clubs.

# # # #