As the city near which the Argentine flag was raised for the first time, and the birthplace of Ernesto ‘Che’ Guevara, Rosario is perhaps one of Latin America’s most revolutionary cities, and on Wednesday that tradition continued with a very small march in Buenos Aires. Che was a Central fan, but this week it’s supporters of their city rivals Newell’s Old Boys who are unhappy. Around thirty of them gathered outside the AFA headquarters on Wednesday evening to voice their displeasure at the club’s current president, Eduardo López.
López has presided over Newell’s for the last 14 years, and the main reason for the controversy over his presidency is that he hasn’t contested an election during that time. Having first become involved with the club as an investor in 1990, he’s expanded the stadium and overseen an increase in club membership, but not all Newell’s fans are happy with who these newer members are.
Of all the top flight clubs in Argentina, it’s probably Newell’s who have the most interaction between their board, president and barra bravas. The closeness of the link was widely seen as the reason behind Pablo Marini’s resignation as manager last September (whatever Marini himself claimed afterwards), and López is widely blamed for having encouraged the barras, La Hinchada Que Nunca Abandona, to do as they please in and around El Coloso del Parque. He was visiting the AFA for an executive meeting on Wednesday, and was met by protestors bearing placards reading ‘López, usurper, get out of Newell’s now!’
One fan, from a group calling itself Autoconvocados Buenos Aires, told Olé: ‘Newell’s is a tyranny. We want democracy, decent facilities, a strong youth team, and to see once more the idols who are far from the club because of a dictator who doesn’t allow the fans to speak through the ballot boxes.’ Racing fans shouted longly and loudly enough to force Blanquiceleste S.A. out of their club earlier this year. Can Newell’s fans achieve a similar feat, and force elections through in Rosario?