Wednesday
July 30, 2014
Friday, April 25, 2014

Two-faced attitude on Díaz

River Plate coach Ramón Díaz.
By Eric Weil / For The Herald

Today, it is as important, if not more so, to have a hooligan gang’s support and that of the club’s committee

Last week’s news showed the two-faced attitude of some people.

First there was River Plate coach Ramón Díaz thanking the club’s hooligan gang for their support. One of the reasons he did it (although he is not going to say so) is because he needs their support, which he does not fully have from the club’s committee. Today, it is as important, if not more so, to have a hooligan gang’s support and that of the committee.

Immediately the justice department and government’s (in)Security Secretary Sergio Berni took steps in the matter although no complaint was received (which is unusual). River Plate’s president, Rodolfo D’Onofrio showed his annoyance at Díaz’s utterance which he said was very unfortunate and finally said that even if they win the championship, he might not be coach next season. There are the two faces of D’Onofrio and the justice. D’Onofrio talked of punishing Díaz, but has not done anything to punish the hooligans, nor expel them from the club, ban them from entering it and may even be helping them in some way as nearly all club presidents have done. The justice department meanwhile rarely intervenes without receiving a complaint and when hooligans land in court, they are generally freed for the famous “lack of evidence” not looked for.

Díaz later said he was sorry and that instead of praising the hooligans, he meant to praise the fans in the cheaper seats... but nobody believed him. And when he said he had no relations with the hooligans, he lied. Listening to phone calls made by his son and assistant coach indicate otherwise.

As mentioned in the Herald earlier this week, D’Onofrio denounced Daniel Passarella, from whom he took over as president at the end of last year, for fraudulent administration which auditors have found so far to total 15 million pesos. This is something many presidents do with their predecessors so that they cannot be blamed for the previous administration’s faults, but possibly the next president will also denounce D’Onofrio. But he should know that these lawsuits have never been successful and are not likely to be under the present justice system. Even at River Plate, José María Aguilar was denounced for the same reason by Passarella, but after over two years the case is still dormant. Passarella also had links with the hooligan gang whose votes made him president in a close decision.

On another matter relating to hooligans of the “United Argentine Fans” travelling to Brazil for the World Cup, their lawyer, Dé-bora Hambo gained a judge’s decision to stop the government from sending a list of hooligans to Brazil so that they can stop them from entering the country or keep a close watch on them — for which Brazil wants Interpol’s help. To do this, Hambo found some loophole in the law and this would not only ease the way for the group she represents, but all other hooligans wishing to travel.

The government Cabinet chief, Jorge Capitanich said that the government is against violence in soccer and is doing everything to eradicate it, but they do not want to appeal the judge’s decision. Yet the government has in the past simply not accepted judges’ decisions. Is this two-faced?

However, the judge, Cecilia Gilardi Madariaga de Negre, probably having another think after being influenced, also by the media, annulled her decision to ban sending lists. Yet the intricacies of Argentine law and its loopholes allow a succession of appeals and a final decision may not be made until August. By that time the World Cup will be over and the hooligans will have been there and back. There is one thing however. The United Fans group have no match tickets yet which, as has been the case, are hard to get.

Cantero goes

After more delays, Independiente’s president Javier Cantero finally resigned after practically everybody opposed him. Fans with only soccer in mind and short memories will never forgive him that during his presidency the club was relegated for the first time. But I feel sorry for him. He took over a club left in such a mess made by the previous administration and others before, that he found it impossible to sort out. That the club’s big debts increased under him was due to claims also received corresponding to the previous administration. Strangely, we are told that the Argentine Football Association (AFA), which has often loaned cash to clubs to discount from their TV fees, asked Independiente to pay back a debt immediately.

Then Cantero said he would get rid of the club’s hooligans for which he got no help from anybody. It meant that the hooligans were going to make life difficult for him and now they are related with the opposition group taking over. Unfortunately, it has set a bad example to other club presidents that they must not break relations with their club’s hooligans.

New championship

There is one bright spot on the horizon for Independiente — a new championship next year in which the top division will have 30 teams, the present 20 plus the best 10 National B Division teams which will play a qualifying tournament in the second half of the year and which will presumably put Independiente back into the top division. Details will be worked out at the AFA on Tuesday. But the world soccer body, FIFA just confirmed that Independiente will forfeit six points for not paying Greece’s Olympiakos 1,8 million dollars for a player (Núñez) bought several years ago. But the points will be taken off next in year’s 30-team tournament to be played from February to December — but it looks like a bad idea.

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