Chiqui Tapia elected AFA president – vows to reduce Messi’s suspension & gives Bauza backing

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Claudio Chiqui Tapia has been elected new president of the Argentine Football Association (AFA) after running unopposed on Wednesday afternoon and claiming 40 of the 43 votes cast.

The AFA has been in a state of disarray since the death of Julio Grondona in 2014 and following the farcical 38-38 tied vote, Luis Segura was named interim president before his implication in FIFA’s corruption allegations led to Armando Pérez being put in temporary charge of a Normalisation Committee.

This was supposed to bring the AFA closer to FIFA’s guidelines but it has proved far more difficult to manage and the election of Tapia will hopefully be a fresh start for the AFA at a time when rational leadership has never been more needed.

“I thank all those who worked to reach this moment,” Tapia said after being named president this afternoon.

 “It is necessary that all of the leaders join us in this democracy. To those who do not share our project, we have to tell them that we need them to reestablish the AFA.”

FIFA had insisted that any new president was vetted and while the validity of that process could be questioned, Chiqui Tapia was deemed suitable.

Running unchallenged, Tapia, the president of lower league club Barracas Central, picked up 40 of the 43 votes with only River Plate, Banfield and San Lorenzo opting to abstain rather than opt for Tapia.

Perhaps because of criminal accusations of fraud related to his business but more likely due to his close ties with Boca Juniors president Daniel Angelici and Independiente president and father-in-law Hugo Moyano, who are Tapia’s two vice-presidents.

Talk of rebuilding AFA and transparency are premature given the familiar figures in charge but the proof will be in the actions.

One of Tapia’s first pieces of business will be Lionel Messi’s four-match ban, that has placed Argentina in danger of not qualifying for the World Cup.

“Messi doesn’t need to worry,” Tapia stated assuringly.

“We will do whatever we can to reduce his suspension – it’s unfair.”

 The second order of business could be the future of Edgardo Bauza and while Tapia said, “There is a coach and we have to support him,” Daniel Angelici was far more non-committal over the Argentina coach.

“Bauza was appointed by the Normalisation Commission & we are going to evaluate, “ the Boca Juniors president stated prior to the election results.

Rumours on Wednesday had suggested that Angelici had already been in touch with Sevilla regarding Jorge Sampaoli, something which the new vice-president flatly denied.

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