ERIC WEIL in BUENOS AIRES: The Argentinian football federation has found itself a new leadership in time to head off any threat of suspension from world governing body FIFA and hence from the 2018 World Cup qualifiers.

First task that new president Claudio Tapia has set himself however is nothing to do with the massive debts of the clubs or the endemic scourge of hooliganism. Instead Tapia has promised to force a reduction in the four-game suspension of Lionel Messi for losing his temper with officials in the victory against Chile.

The Barcelona superstar’s ban was merely the latest self-inflicted wound committed from within the Argentinian football community and Tapia may come to regret his promise to win a battle with the organisation, FIFA, to which he owes his new role.

Tapia’s appointment followed three years of internal infighting prompted by the deatg of long-time AFA president Julio Grondona shortly after the 2014 World Cup.

A normalisation committee was ultimately set up by FIFA and South American confederation CONMEBOL to take over the running of the AFA. Armando Perez, president of Belgrano, was put in charge but found the stresses and strains damaging his own health.

TV rights row

Fortunately the clubs managed, just in time, to resolve the complex TV rights issue by accepting a payoff from the government of President Mauricio Macri for the controversial Futbol Para Todos programme and then agreeing a joint rights deal with Turner and Fox.

Thus Tapia, president of old third division suburban outfit Barracas Central, can take the domestic game forward with the support of Boca Juniors president Daniel Angelici, 52, and Hugo Moyano, former boss of the powerful union of road haulage contractors and president of Independiente.

Both Angelici and Moyano are close to Macri, himself a former president of Boca who turned around the financial affairs of the country’s most popular club during a decade which provided him with a springboard to mayoralty of Buenos Aires and, ultimately, the state presidency.

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