Lanús president and spokesperson for clubs Nicolás Russo insists that fixtures will get underway this week, regardless of whether sides field professionals or youth players. Head of AFA and usual villain Armando Perez today said that the situation is now even more complex than it was before. All we can do is wait with bated breath and hope that embarrassing saga is resolved before it gets worse.
One fixture that is being treated as a certain go-ahead is Vélez Sarsfield’s game against Estudiantes de La Plata, with announcing the match-up via their Twitter account.
TORNEO PRIMERA DIVISIÓN 2017. 15° Fecha: Vélez Sarsfield vs. Estudiantes LP Jueves 9 de marzo, a las 21.00 hs. Árbi… https://t.co/ouA1J3kGve
— Vélez Sarsfield (@Velez) March 6, 2017
Saturday’s rugby match between Jaguares and Lions is scheduled to take place at the Liniers’ side’s home ground, the José Amalfitani stadium, meaning the Primera Division tie has been brought forward to this Thursday.
AFA, meanwhile, are yet to announce dates and kick-off times for the remainder of matches.
This, coupled with the fact that Tigre head coach Pedro Troglio today showed solidarity with players – telling TyC Sports that “if the players won’t play, I won’t coach” – means we shouldn’t get too excited at the prospect of the league getting underway in its complete form this week.
Just today, Temperley affirmed their stance on the matter. In a statement, the club revealed that they too will look to continue the strike this weekend.
Troglio’s defiance goes against the aforementioned Lanús president Russo’s latest assurance that “every team has the responsibility of convincing their players to play.. they will have to field a sides of non-professionals”.
Speaking in an interview with Radio Continental, he said that “it may be played with youths or professionals, but it will be played”.
All of this means that we’re facing a genuine stalemate, as the footballers’ union sees the general dressing down of the AFA as an opportunity to resolve the issue of wages that has plagued the lives of those they represent for many seasons.
Other factors are still in need of resolving too – clubs are desperate to get the AFA elections underway in order to rid its Normalising Committee of perceived ill-doings and mismanagement. However, it seems that the issue of getting football restarted is the most pressing and top of the agenda.
Plus, a deal is still yet to be agreed for which TV company is to show next season’s fixtures. American firms ESPN and Fox-Turner are the apparent frontrunners to take over from the abandoned Fútbol Para Todos scheme at the moment, but an agreement has still not been announced.
In the midst of this chaos, there was at least some football to be had over the weekend. Primera D, Argentina’s fifth tier, saw two fixtures take place on Saturday – Argentino de Rosario’s match against Muniz ending in a 1-1 draw and Yupanquí defeating nine-man Central Ballester 2-1.
Plus, the highly-anticipated first round of Copa Libertadores group matches will take place this week. Mendoza’s Godoy Cruz host Brazilian side Atlético Mineiro, while San Lorenzo travel to Rio de Janeiro to take on Flamengo.
Heroes of the qualifying round Atlético Tucumán play Palmeiras to finish off Wednesday’s fixtures, before Lanús play Colombia’s Nacional on Thursday night.
Argentine football is at a real crossroads now. Although fans and the AFA alike are desperate for football to resume, it seems players, and their coaches, are taking an increasingly firm stance against their perceived mistreatment by clubs. While the rest of South America and Europe’s leagues continue in full swing, Argentina’s seems to be sinking further into static disrepair.