Tango but no cash for Argentine football clubs

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Can you imagine if someone turned to you now and told you that the start of the Premier League season was being delayed indefinitely? It sounds like a highly improbable scenario, but that is exactly what has happened in Argentina this week. Due to huge financial problems for many of the clubs across all the leagues it has been decided that the new season will not start as planned, but will be delayed in order for the clubs to find the money that they owe players in backdated wages.

The shortfall in funds for many of the clubs has been blamed on the economic crisis which has stopped clubs in Europe buying players from the Argentine leagues. There has also been widespread controversy surrounding the issue of money from television rights, with many arguing that an insufficient portion is being given to the clubs as the AFA keeps a hefty chunk for itself. On top of this, the extreme supporter groups known as ‘Barras Bravas’ are said to be gaining an increasing stranglehold on club activities including transfer deals, ticket touting and director decisions through violent behaviour. This has driven out other fans who are not prepared to risk their safety to see a football match.

It is an incredible turn of events for a country that produces so many world class footballers. Imagine a world without the future Messis or Maradonas, a place we could be heading unless these issues are sorted out for the better. Even the big name clubs such as Boca Juniors and River Plate are struggling and, having been in La Bombonera for last year’s derby i can vouch for the fact that it would be unthinkable for it not to take place this year. With support like that for both sides it is unbelievable that the clubs can be in such financial woe.

The current failings of the national side will not be be helped by the situation either. They continue to struggle under Maradona in their task of qualifying for the World Cup, trailing the likes of Chile and Paraguay and only marginally leading Ecuador. Players not being paid and bickering between clubs and the governing body is unlikely to make the task any easier. Lets hope the situation is sorted out quickly, as losing a breeding ground that consistently produces some of the world’s greatest talents would be a travesty.

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