The sporting security authorities suffered a blow on Tuesday, when it was announced that Javier Castrilli, ‘El Sheriff‘, Subsecretary of Sporting Events Security, had resigned from his post. Disagreements with Aníbal Fernández, the Minister of Justice and Security, led Castrilli to feel that, ‘the most healthy and least traumatic option [for me] was to resign.’ In Beijing, also on Tuesday, Argentina’s girls exited the Women’s Olympic Football Tournament in spite of a gutsy showing against world powerhouses (and hosts) China, having lost all three of their group games.
Back in June, I reported here that Castrilli, a former international referee who was appointed to his post in 2003, had unveiled plans to force all Primera A clubs to have 90% of their stadium’s capacity seated by this time next year. As ever, I was reporting on the basis of several Argentine newspaper reports which stated the situation as a matter of fact. But at the end of July it became apparent that it wasn’t at all, because Fernández and his boys, following a meeting with representatives of the clubs in Capital Federal, failed to back Castrilli up, so the seating issue is now in the same situation it was all along. That lack of support from Fernández proved the last straw for Castrilli. The battle against the barra bravas has suffered a blow, as one of its main figures leaves the fold.
The state of women’s football in Argentina has never been anywhere near the level, in international terms, of the men’s game there, and whilst the likes of the USA, Sweden, China, Germany and Brazil are giants of the women’s game, it’s only in its infancy in Argentina. Qualification for the Olympic Football Tournament was rewarded by being drawn in a group which included both hosts China and Sweden, and in the end Argentina lost all three of their matches, 2-1 to Canada, 1-0 to Sweden, and, on Tuesday, 2-0 to China. The results, though, show that the women’s game in the country is improving rapidly, and a decent first half performance meant the Chinese were sweating until a 52nd minute own goal from María Quiñones put them 1-0 up. Even then Argentina didn’t crumble, and it took a 90th minute goal from late substitute Gu Yasha to confirm the hosts’ victory.