On the cusp of the Copa América, Argentine football has been thrown into disarray with the Argentine Football Association (AFA) in conflict with the government and internal fighting over the proposed Superliga prompting presidential candidate Marcelo Tinelli to withdraw from the race.
Tinelli, also resigned from his vice-presidency role in the AFA, despite previously being favourite to be named new president in the coming elections and this may well lead to further high-profile departures.
The 56-year-old television personality was close to being named as Luis Segura’s successor as AFA president in December but embarrassingly the vote ended even despite there being 75 voters.
During the delay to another election, in theory later this month, more candidates have emerged, the Argentine government has begun an investigation into the misappropriation of funds given to the AFA, and importantly Tinelli heads a group looking to break away from the organisation to create an Argentine SuperLiga.
Por razones de índole personal he decidido retirar mi candidatura para las elecciones a Presidente de @afa .
— marcelo tinelli (@cuervotinelli) June 2, 2016
In a series of messages from his official Twitter account, Tinelli confirmed his withdrawal and his resignation.
“I have decided to withdraw my candidacy from the elections to president in AFA. I also communicate my indeclinable resignation to the post of third vice president.
“Thanks to all the football leaders who have supported me. I wish someday in the future we have an AFA with order, professionalism, and efficiency.
“From today, I will keep working with San Lorenzo and assembling a superior project in football, which I think is the SuperLiga.”
At this point Tinelli is the only one to have officially resigned but the presidents of four of the ‘big five’, namely Daniel Angelici (Boca Juniors), Rodolfo D’onofrio (River Plate), Víctor Blanco (Racing)and Matías Lammens (San Lorenzo), have all announced that they will follow.
Independiente remain the only ‘grande’ not to go along with the proposed SuperLiga, with their club president, Hugo Moyano now favourite to be AFA president.
Moyano was outspoken on the subject in the aftermath of Tinelli’s announcement: “This was a manoeuvre to empty the AFA. They are responsible for everything, they have been managing money and are the ones who created this situation.”
Meanwhile, current AFA president Luis Segura travelled to the United States ahead of Argentina’s opener against Chile on Monday and offered his own resignation.
“My resignation is on the table, as always but the problem in the AFA is so great that my resignation is irrelevant,” explained the man left in charge since the death of Julio Grondona.
“You cannot deny the importance of the big clubs in Argentine soccer. That’s why I hope we can all meet and search for an agreement together. Unfortunately, AFA officials are divided in two groups. I hope Argentine soccer gets back on the right track again,” said the president.
Talking about his possible resignation, Segura added: “I don’t live off AFA and I have no intention of staying under these conditions. I’m not interested in extending my stint. I was hoping to stay in charge until June 30, but if nothing changes, I will leave the position to someone else.”
There doesn’t appear to be any resolution to this on the horizon at the moment and so once more Argentine football is dragged through the mud.