ERIC WEIL in BUENOS AIRES: New Argentinian football president Luis Segura has warned that next year’s 30-club championship is unsustainable . . . unless the government pumps even more money into the Futbol Para Todos TV project.

The FPT deal, negotiated by the late Julio Grondona, means the football-aware government pays far more for live televised domestic football than any of the commercial agencies could afford.

Initially the clubs were expected to use some of the cash to reduce debts, pay players regularly and address the long-running hooliganism crisis but none of this has happened.

However, with a state Presidential election on the horizon the AFA has a lever with which to extort more money – which is exactly what Segura appears to be doing as a first act in office.

Segura had been AFA vice-president under ‘Don Julio’ and was confirmed unanimously in office last week to complete Grondona’s presidential mandate until next October when the fight for the job will really start.

It is understood that, during a meeting with Segura at the Argentinian state mansion in Olivos, the government put more cash on the table, albeit with conditions.

The offer – made by Maximo Kirchner, lawyer son of President Cristina Kirchner – was a further $300m on top of the current $975m.

However this would be dependent on at least two factors: one would be a guarantee that Marcelo Tinelli, the AFA communications chief who is no friend of the government, should not gain greater power; a second would be the continuance in their roles of Grondona’s appointees.


Possible contenders for AFA president next year include:

Jose Meiszner (Quilmes), the 70-year-old CONMEBOL secretary-general who 82-year-old Grondona wanted to oust so as to bring younger people into the AFA (!);

Raúl Gamez, for many years president of Vélez Sarsfield – a club better run than most – and opponent of Grondona; a reformed hooligan who would probably run the AFA better on Vélez Sarsfield lines;

Miguel Silva, 51-year-old Arsenal vice-president; a protégé of Grondona for a senior role in the AFA;

Alejandro Marón, 44-year-old president of Lanús, another better-run club and another Grondona protégé;

Juan Sebastián Verón, new president of Estudiantes de La Plata, has said he would be interested, but not for the moment. Grondona once hailed the presidential prospects of Verón but the statutes would have to be amended: camndidates must have spent a minimum of four years as a formal official;

Marcelo Tinelli, vice-president of San Lorenzo and close to Grondona, has said he is not currently interested in the presidency.

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