Don Julio Backs Down

A headline I never thought I would write.

Another shocker to this story, Julio Grondona did not blame the English or the English press (yet).  Despite the fact that the vast majority of the clubs supported the ridiculous plan to expand the Argentina Primera Division to a 38 team field, the Argentine Football Association (led by “elected” dictator-for-life Don Julio) appears to be backing down.  Pressure from fans, media, coaches, players, and club directors seems to have given Grondona and the AFA pause.

It was a ridiculous plan that was transparently intended to protect the Buenos Aires clubs (where the money is) from relegation, starting with the recently fallen River Plate.  Hopefully the end of this plan also signals the end of Don Julio’s reign, although I am too much a realist to believe that.  Jonathan Wilson explains it all, brilliantly of course.  I do take issue with his closing line.

It’s surely the right decision for Argentinian soccer, but it says little for democracy within AFA, and it raises serious questions about Grondona’s credibility.

I think Wilson may be understating the case somewhat, because if this is what finally raises serious questions about Don Julio’s credibility, then someone has not been watching Argentinian football for the past couple of decades.


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