OpinionMonday, May 19, 2014
Incentive pay not wrong
For once this column agrees with Aníbal Fernández, the president of Quilmes, that there is nothing wrong with one club, or somebody connected with it, paying players of another club an extra incentive to win although it is banned by the Argentine Football Association — one of those laws it makes which they cannot, or have no intention of keeping. What is wrong is for a third party to pay players to lose a match. Fernández rightly agrees and says that it would not molest him if somebody pays their rival an incentive to win as those are the rules of the game.
As every championship reaches its end, there are rumours that some people or clubs have given another club’s players extra money as an incentive to win and there were obviously many people, especially from the two La Plata title clubs, Estudiantes and Gimnasia y Esgrima, who were title candidates yesterday and who wanted River Plate to lose, or at least draw against Quilmes. We do not know whether there were payments or not, but for Quilmes players it would have been very welcome. They had not been paid for three months and behind Fernández’s thinking was perhaps the feeling that cash from anywhere would have been most welcome. Their coach, Ricardo Caruso Lombardi, the champion saviour who has just saved his sixth club from relegation and loves to provoke people, turned up at a training session last week with a suitcase to show that one could arrive with money in it.
Boca Juniors (although no longer a title candidate last week) and its many fans also wanted their great rivals, River Plate to lose for the simple, but rather stupid reason that they hate each other. It had been rumoured for a time that they would let rivals Gimnasia y Esgrima win on the last day if the La Plata club had a chance of the title or of forcing a playoff. No known payments were made to Quilmes, but Boca Juniors fielded a team without eight usual first teamers, but explained how the eight were not fit to play.
The AFA has a sort of rule against fielding weak teams which is useless — field a minimum of eight players from the professional staff of usually between 30 and 40 players — but if they really wanted to investigate they would have had to have these eight Boca Juniors players medically examined.