Last Wednesday, AFA president and FIFA vice-president Julio Grondona died. I wrote about it here, for ESPNFC. Everyone knew that the organisation was in for a few changes, and it will be a while before we really get a handle on who has control at the new-look AFA. For the moment, though, Argentinos Juniors president Luis Segura, as the AFA’s previous first vice-president, has taken charge. On Tuesday a bunch of details came out which… well, you’ll see.
First, AFA spokesman Ernesto Cherquis Bialo told reporters on Tuesday evening that, although the idea had previously been to hold elections for a new president in October this year, Segura has been ‘unanimously approved by the AFA board to see out the rest of what would have been Grondona’s mandate.’ That means Segura will be AFA president (and take the association’s CONMEBOL seat as FIFA VP) until October next year.
That was all Cherquis said to the TV cameras; the other stories regarding the announcements are from journalists tweeting what they’ve been told following this evening’s board meeting. A committee of directors will on Thursday meet with former Paraguay, Newell’s Old Boys and Barcelona manager Gerardo Martino and offer him the national team job. Whilst I was writing this post, Luis Segura himself confirmed this. This isn’t a surprise at all; Martino is by a distance the outstanding candidate for the job, bearing in mind that other favourites such as José Pekerman and Diego Simeone are currently employed and want to respect their contracts.
And now rumours have come out regarding what the Primera División will look like next season. When it kicks off this weekend (it was meant to be last weekend, but Grondona’s death meant a cancellation of all footballing activities in the country for seven days), the Primera will witness one last short championship before expanding to thirty teams and a year-round calendar in February. At least, that was the plan before Grondona kicked the bucket.
What’s emerged this evening is a different plan – and it should be stressed these are only possibilities at the moment. It seems that with clubs uneasy about a year-round calendar, the first half of 2015 could now see another ‘transition championship’, this time with thirty teams, before the previously-planned season-long thirty-team championship begins in August 2015, to run through to May 2016.
In other words, one of the main reasons for even having a transitional championship – switching to a calendar more in keeping with the southern hemisphere seasons – could be going out of the window, whilst the other reason – the stupid reason of expanding the Primera to thirty teams who’ll play each other only once per season(!) – would remain.
Players who’ve recently renewed or extended contracts (or who’ve just signed for a club) have contracts running through to December 2015. That, if this second change did happen, would be halfway through the season. Argentine football would still have a gap of a couple of months during the winter (when, certainly compared with northern Europe, it’s relatively mild and games could definitely take place) as well as a gap of a couple of months in the summer (when it’s stinking hot and playing competitive matches would be actively dangerous).
Confused? Well, at least you don’t have to write about it…