March 10, 2014
Capitanich vs Berni
For the Herald
One of Cabinet Chief Jorge Capitanich’s 2,700 goals (see last Friday’s SPORTWORLD) is to let fans of visiting teams back in to stadiums — applause — but he is up against Security Minister Sergio Berni, Buenos Aires Province Governor Daniel Scioli and other authorities who insist that the prohibition has to stay until the AFAPlus ticket system is fully operational. Unfortunately, they do not know what they are talking about. More unfortunate, they are government officials, but don’t know what country they are living in.
Last year, Argentina set a record, unfortunately yet another negative one — 15 deaths related to soccer. This should have made authorities realize that the prohibition of visiting team fans is not a solution to stop hooligan fans murdering. They must be dumb. Also, nobody knows when the AFAPlus ticket system, first announced in 2007, will be fully operational. In any case, as mentioned before, it will not stop hooligans getting into stadiums, although it would take a lot of their earnings away.
INJURIES. A lot was talked about last year about the number of injuries in local soccer — especially the 63 at Boca Juniors — which may not stop this year as Boca Juniors have already had three before the final tournament has even started. This column has already mentioned a number of reasons, but what would also help is if the AFA’s disciplinary committee started working properly.
Last week, an Independiente player was suspended for five games for kicking an opponent. That is OK, but why are nearly all players for fouling opponents and getting two yellow cards in a match suspended for only one game. The disciplinary committee has never been severe enough in its decisions to wipe out the filthy soccer which is more a product of most local players just lacking the skills to stop opponents any other way. A more severe committee would help to reduce injuries and possibly improve the standard of play by putting the filthy players on the sidelines.
AGENTS. Another thing soccer could do without this year are soccer player agents who take a lot of the money out of the game, haggle to increase players’ salaries and transfers, urging them to move, often to Europe — all for more commissions — when they are not up to scratch and then come slinking back after lack of success.
These are just three of the things we could do without — ban on visiting fans, weak disciplinary committee and players agents. Can it happen?