Segura dismisses reports, AFA presidential elections on hold with five candidates
Argentine Football Association (AFA) president Luis Segura has dispelled fears that the national team might withdraw from the Copa América Centenario in the United States after the institution came under judicial scrutiny over television revenue.
On Monday, judge María Servini de Cubría ordered that a lawyer and an accountant be installed at AFA for three months to look at alleged irregularities in its management of match broadcasting funds.
The order, which included suspending a proposed AFA presidential election on June 30, met with resistance from board members who threatened to withdraw Argentina from the Copa that kicks off on Friday.
However, AFA president Luis Segura denied the team would be flown home.
“I’m not resigning and there is no possibility of the national team, returning from the United States,” he told a hastily-arranged news conference yesterday.
“There is no possibility the football will stop, nor that Boca Juniors won’t play the Libertadores Cup,” he added referring to the July semifinals of South America’s elite club tournament.
“I hope this (order) isn’t the start of Government intervention (in the AFA),” added Segura, who had no plans to notify FIFA officially about the situation at noon. However, the Executive Board decided to write a letter to FIFA when they met in the afternoon.
“AFA is unhampered, and we don’t want anyone kicking us out of FIFA,” Segura said at the press conference.
Independiente president Huyo Moyano along with Lanús president Nicolás Russo proposed to notify FIFA and CONMEBOL. However, the text of the letter was not released. Moyano and Russo are running for the AFA presidency. They were confirmed yesterday after presenting the required endorserments. San Lorenzo vice-president Marcelo Tinelli, Barracas Central president Claudio Tapia and Belgrano president Armando Pérez complete list of candidates. The elections remain on hold as the General Court Agency (IGJ) administrators suspended the process for 90 days with the possibility of extending the freeze to 180 days.
“We want to use democracy in soccer’s decisions. And now, we are prevented from doing so by the government. We are trying to normalize the crisis and we are not allowed to do that,” Moyano said.
Boca Juniors and River Plate presidents, Daniel Angelici and Rodolfo D’Onofrio, respectively as well as San Lorenzo de Almagro chief Matías Lammens did not attend yesterday’s Executive Board meeting.
Sergio Brodsky, who heads the IGJ, said yesterday on TN TV channel that he doubted that FIFA would move to suspend Argentina’s national team due to the government intervention and insisted that the federal judge in the case, Servini de Cubria urged the inspectors to use caution.
“By sending in the inspectors I think we are complying with the judicial mandate,” Brodsky said. “The inspectors will look into the situation and prepare a report. There is no change to the current [AFA] administration so this cannot be called an intervention. We have been very cautious with the resolution we passed yesterday (on Monday). We have read over the FIFA statutes to avoid any type of sanction on suspension. Here, there is nothing more going on than an investigation.”
AFA has been battling a power vacuum since the death two years ago of Julio Grondona. A long-time head of AFA, Grondona was also a senior vice president of FIFA and a close ally of Joseph Blatter, the disgraced former president of FIFA.
World soccer’s governing body FIFA does not favour state intervention in football affairs.
Argentina starts its Copa América Centenario Group D action against holders Chile in California on Monday. It also faces Bolivia and Panama in the opening round.
Herald with DyN, online media