ERIC WEIL in BUENOS AIRES: Suspicion is growing that the AFAPlus project to curb the Barras Bravas has been stalled, possibly never to be revived.

Luis Segura, president of the Argentinian football association since the death of long-term leader Julio Grondona, let the news drop out.

AFAPlus was a Grondona ‘invention’ which would have stopped unregistered fans – i.e., hooligans – from entering stadia and even making use of black market and false tickets.

The flaw in the plan was that the membership card registration procedure was to have been undertaken by not only the AFA but also the clubs which would have given the latter carte blanche to sign up ‘their own’ hooligan.

In fact AFAPlus was first announced in 2007 but practical measures to put it into practice never surfaced.

One suspects other interests at play such as club officials and even police who would have missed out on under-the-counter “business.” Police would have had their matchday income cut if clubs had needed fewer for match security.

Clubs also face footing the bill for the installation of a new kind of turnstile for the AFAPlus system. Their excuse of not proceding with the work while awaiting municipal permission was hardly credible.

Now Grondona has gone the prospect of AFAPlus ever springing back to life appears minimal.

Cynics suggest that governments, courts and police allow the hooligans freedom to manoeuvre because they are not really fans but criminal organisations engaged in robbery, narcotics and gang violence.

If they were driven out of the clubs they would carry on their “business” elsewhere and be more difficult to watch and control.

This recalls the argument for the ‘permission’ of hooliganism in English football in the 1970s: better to have that violence in football stadia than throughout the city streets.

See how that finished up.