On the day that retired ex River Plate, Argentinos Juniors, Villarreal, Cruzeiro and Argentina full back Juan Pablo Sorín was awarded the title of Honorary Citizen of Belo Horizonte (the city he’s lived in three times during his spells at Cruzeiro), FIFA confirmed that another former Argentina player is held in rather less high esteem. Diego Maradona, the manager of the national team, is to be investigated by FIFA’s Disciplinary Committee for his bizarre press conference after Argentina secured qualification for next year’s World Cup. If the Committee consider it a just punishment, he could be banned from the touchline for five competitive matches. So, will he be in charge in South Africa?
Argentina claimed a 1-0 win over Uruguay last Wednesday which confirmed their qualification for South Africa 2010, and left their rivals needing to negotiate a playoff with Costa Rica. After the match Maradona gave a bizarre press conference in which denying that the team had played defensively was the least eyebrow-raising statement he made. He railed against supposed detractors in the press who’ve bothered him all his life, even though the Argentine press routinely refer to him through sobriquets such as ‘The Golden Boy’ and ‘God’. He also told the assembled reporters that they could all suck on something, before grabbing his genitals.
Joseph S. Blatter, in perhaps the most sensible thing he’s ever said in his life, confirmed to Spanish sports paper As today that, ‘[Maradona could] sanctioned according to Article 58.1 of [FIFA’s] Disciplinary Code, although that’s something that will have to be decided exactly by the Disciplinary Committee. We don’t have any choice but to investigate, and make sure we know exactly what it was that went on.’
Article 58.1 states that, ‘Any person who offends the dignity of a person or group of persons with denigrating actions or words will be punished with a five match suspension and a fine of between 20,000 and 30,000 Swiss Francs [the Swiss Franc is virtually equivalent to the US Dollar at present].’
That could be very interesting for Argentina’s World Cup campaign and Maradona’s immediate future, especially considering he’ll be meeting soon with AFA President Julio Grondona to ‘decide whether or not I’ll continue,’ as he put it a couple of weeks ago before qualification was assured. If Maradona receives a five match ban and it’s decided that those matches shouldn’t include any friendlies, then Argentina would, in effect, have to reach the semi-finals of the World Cup in order for their manager to appear on the sidelines.
If he’s trying to force his way out, it looks like he’s doing a good job of it.
Diego was back in the headlines today in Argentina, and it looks like the honeymoon with Bilardo is over:
quote (translation is mine) “Bilardo has to be with Grondona, on top (in the office) in a suit and tie. With the team it has to be the three of us (meaning himself with Lemme and Mancuso, Maradona’s assistants). The tactics against Uruguay were put together by me.”
I still wonder. Is this a power play by Maradona which means that if he loses, he’ll abandon the team. Or is he setting up some excuses for himself in case he doesn’t do well in the Cup (claiming he always wanted to manage properly, but wasn’t allowed).
Sorry to disappoint you but blatter has yet to say something sensible, as article 58.1 says:
“1. Anyone who publicly disparages, discriminates against or denigrates someone in a defamatory manner on account of race, colour, language, religion or ethnic origin, or perpetrates any other racist and/or contemptuous deed, will be subject to match suspension for at least five matches at every level. Furthermore, a stadium ban and a fine of at least CHF 20,000 will be imposed on the perpetrator. If the perpetrator is an official, the fine will be at least CHF 30,000.”
Very clear that maradona’s words, though objectionable to some, fit nowhere here. Blatter is an incompetent tyrant, cant wait for his last day as fifa boss
its unbelievable the clowns that govern football Fifa “fair play” my arse. Seeding the teams for the playoffs is another example of Step Ladders preference for the “big” teams