You probably thought today couldn’t get much worse, what with Argentina reeling from last night’s Copa América loss against Chile and Lionel Messi’s announcement that he will be retiring. We’re sorry to say you were wrong. Things could get much, much worse, and soon. How? Depending on how a particular meeting goes today, the Argentina Football Association (AFA) could get kicked out of the International Federation of Football Association (FIFA), which would mean no more international football competitions for Argentina.
Wait, what? Let’s backtrack and explain how we got here:
Last Thursday, Federal Judge María Servini de Cubría prosecuted a number of important people implicated in an alleged embezzlement scheme involving Fútbol Para Todos (FPT), the government-sponsored program that broadcasts the national football league on public television.
AFA Interim President Luis Segura and other high-ranking members of the entity were among those prosecuted because, according to Servini de Cubría’s investigation, there’s enough evidence to believe AFA illegally kept part of the State funds destined for the football clubs that take part in the association’s tournaments.
This unprecedented institutional crisis led FIFA — which had already sent its own people to evaluate how serious the AFA mess was earlier this month — to decide on Friday to remove Segura from his post as AFA president and appoint a so-called “normalizing committee” to administer the association according to FIFA standards and call for elections once things went back to normal.
However, this didn’t go down well with Servini de Cubría, who saw this as an intrusion that could interfere with her investigation. Consequently, she ordered that AFA not abide by FIFA’s decision and summoned officials from both entities, along with representatives of President Mauricio Macri’s administration, to a hearing later on today.
This didn’t go down well with FIFA, either. Why? if Servini de Cubría bans FIFA from administering AFA, FIFA could determine that AFA is experiencing a non-sports-related intervention — something forbidden by its statute — and consequently kick it out of the international association.
What would this mean? The Argentine national team and all Argentine football clubs would automatically be eliminated from all international competitions organized by FIFA, meaning all international competitions that matter. Unless, you know, you play in the Non-FIFA board with teams from Occitania, Raetia and the Himalayas, for example.
What would be the most immediate consequences? Argentina might not be able to play in this year’s Olympic’s football tournament and Boca Juniors, currently in the Copa Libertadores’s semi finals, could be eliminated. Yikes.
Shortly after the news surfaced, AFA’s building had to be evacuated due to a bomb threat. I don’t think there’s much more to say.