AFA president Luis Segura has this morning downplayed suggestions that Argentina may be withdrawn from the Copa América but with the football association still angered by the Argentine government’s ‘interference’ an executive meeting is scheduled for Tuesday evening.
Argentina are due to face Chile in their Copa América opener next Monday but there is some doubt surrounding this after AFA executive secretary Damián Dupiellet told radio station La Red that an executive meeting would discuss the possibility of bring the Argentina squad back from the United States.
Dupiellet said: “The elections are suspended for 90 days and could be suspended for 90 days more. Two inspectors have been sent to carry out an internal review. This is clear interference in the life of the AFA.”
The inspectors in this case are from the ministry of justice and are investigating the misappropriation of funds that were paid to the AFA by the government for the Fútbol Para Todos scheme.
This had led to investigators postponing the scheduled AFA presidential elections, that were due to take place on June 30th, and for the next 90 days installing two of their own people to oversee matters.
Angered by this, Dupiellet added that the AFA will seek assistance from CONMEBOL and FIFA given that government interference in football is against the institution’s rules and has led to the suspensions of some nations previously.
Going a step further in his threat, Dupiellet said, “The Executive Board will decide tomorrow [Tuesday] if the national team must return to Argentina.”
Understandably AFA president Luis Segura has already been fielding questions on this subject and although he confirmed that everything would be discussed and agreed after the executive meeting, the former Argentinos Juniors president did attempt to allay fears that Argentina would be withdrawing from the Copa América.
Segura told reporters: “I always thought that the post-Grondona era was going to be difficult but I didn’t imagine it would be like this.
“I think common sense will prevail, thinking about withdrawing Argentina from a tournament doesn’t enter any head. Argentina will play the Copa América and Boca will play in the Copa Libertadores. To talk about stopping football at this point is hasty.”
Pulling out of the Copa América would be met with a $5 million fine from CONMEBOL in addition to the damages to the tournament and sponsors and would also result in a ban from the next two tournaments.
Such an action still seems some way off but Segura remained adamant that the government would not interfere and would not decide the future of the AFA. The executive meeting will take place at the AFA headquarters in Buenos Aires at 6:30pm on Tuesday and we should know more after that. For now, all we have are Segura’s closing words: “We will see.”